Wheelhouse Weekly – September 25, 2012

September 25th 2012


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 16 . . . Number 39. . . Sept. 25, 2012


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


Negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), the organization that represents waterfront employers, have been extended for 90 days, through Dec. 29. The collective bargaining agreement had been set to expire Sept. 30.


Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has taken yet another swipe at the Jones Act, the law that requires that shipments from one U.S. port to another be carried on vessels owned by American citizens and operated by American mariners.

The Jones Act is critical to the jobs of many MM&P members. It boosts our nation’s economy by keeping thousands of maritime jobs in the United States. It contributes to national security by making a fleet available for our military. Approximately 50 percent of the trained merchant mariners available for sealift in the event of a national emergency are employed in the Jones Act trades.

But McCain has made repealing the Jones Act a central focus of his career. Last March, he tried to attach language repealing the Jones Act to an energy bill.  His most recent attack on the law came in an article entitled “Oil and the Ghost of 1920,” that was posted to the Wall Street Journal Blog on Sept. 13. It is “ludicrous” to assert that the Jones Act contributes to national security, McCain was quoted as saying. “These arguments are laughable,” he added.

The MM&P International President called McCain’s statements “dangerous to the wellbeing of our country,” and “an insult to the American mariners who have been an indispensable component of our nation’s defense in every conflict since World War II.”

“Repealing the Jones Act and allowing unrestricted operation of foreign vessels and crews along our coasts would put the United States at great risk,” he added. “We urge McCain and others fighting to repeal the Jones Act to focus on sound policy rather than sound bites. America must maintain U.S.-flag commercial sealift capability and the Jones Act helps guarantee our ability to do so.”


Before recessing for the election break, the Senate passed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012, which was amended to include language setting forth the terms and conditions governing the implementation of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for the ten-year period commencing in 2015.  The language was agreed to by the maritime unions, most companies participating in MSP, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the Department of Defense. The House-passed Coast Guard Authorization bill does not include language on MSP, but the House has included the MSP-extension language as part of its defense authorization bill, which has not yet been considered by the Senate.

There are a number of differences between the House and Senate versions of the Coast Guard bill that will need to be resolved during the lame-duck session of Congress that will take place after the November elections.


USNS CHOCTAW COUNTY, the second of the Navy’s new joint high-speed vessels (JHSV), was christened Sept. 15 in a ceremony in Mobile, Ala. CHOCTAW COUNTY will have a crew of 21 civil service mariners, including members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG). Military Sealift Command (MSC) will own and operate all the JHSVs.

The 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, making them ideal for quickly transporting troops and equipment. The 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be rapidly reconfigured to adapt to whatever mission the ship is tasked with, from carrying containerized portable hospitals to transporting tanks and troops.

“This ship class fits perfectly with the new concept of forward-basing,” says MM&P member Capt. Jose Delfaus, CHOCTAW COUNTY’s civil service master. The goal of forward-basing is to cut back on the number of overseas bases by equipping more forward-deployed ships with troops and gear.

“The JHSV bridge functions more like a 747-cockpit than a traditional ship’s bridge,” Delfaus says. “The design is for the officer to operate the entire ship from a chair. Everything you need to move the ship is available through an elaborate control panel. The navigation team also sits in the bridge, as does the engineering consul. It’s a very unique set-up: the rows of people make it look a bit like Star Trek.”

JHSVs are capable of transporting 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment for a distance of 1,200 nautical miles at a high average speed of 35 knots. They can operate in shallow-draft, austere ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces with mobility and flexibility. The ships’ aviation flight decks can support day and night operations.

CHOCTAW COUNTY will operate out of Little Creek, Va., and is expected to begin conducting missions for the Navy in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. 


The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have reached a tentative contract agreement with Verizon. Spokespersons for the two unions credited the mobilization of tens of thousands of their members and allies throughout the labor movement for making a big difference in the outcome of the bitter and protracted negotiations, which had been conducted since July under the auspices of the Federal Mediation Commission.

“In this tough economic climate, with many politicians and CEOs preaching more and more austerity for the middle class, working families at Verizon stood strong and stuck together to get the best possible agreement,” said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill in an official statement. “We don’t agree with everything in it, but it allows us to move forward and continue to fight for good middle-class jobs at Verizon in the years to come.”

“Our members stood up to the most sweeping and intensive attack on our standard of living and bargaining rights in the history of the telecommunications industry,” said CWA District One Vice President Chris Shelton.

Highlights of the new agreement include: job security language, including a prohibition on layoffs of workers hired before 2003; restrictions on the company’s right to relocate work out of the region; contract language that restricts the company’s right to reassign workers long distances from their homes; the existing defined-benefit pension plan for all current employees.

Additional details of the agreement are being withheld until local unions have an opportunity to present them to their members in meetings and at work locations.


MM&P’s Norfolk Hall will be moving this week into shared space with MEBA.  The new address will be:  Interstate Corporate Center, 6325 North Center Drive, Suite 100, Norfolk, VA  23502. The phone number, fax and e-mail addresses will remain the same. If you have trouble contacting the Norfolk Hall during the period immediately before or after the transition, please contact the New York/New Jersey Hall for assistance.


The dates for the Offshore Orientation Course in Los Angeles/Long Beach have been changed to Oct. 17-18. In addition, the LA Membership Meeting for October will be held on Oct. 17 instead of on Oct. 10.


Twelve MM&P members are behind the design of the first hoodie to be offered as an MM&P PCF gift. Members of the United Inland Group and the Offshore Group shared their ideas for the design of the hoodie as part of an informal online “focus group.” They evaluated several slogans before settling on one–“Solidarity Is the Foundation of Progress”–which harkens back to our union’s origins in the 1880s. The design on the front of the hoodie shows two ship’s officers behind the wheel of a ship.

We’re excited about our new, 100 percent American union-made hoodie, which is modeled in the September-October issue of “The Master, Mate & Pilot” by a member of the MM&P Pacific Maritime Region who participated in its design.

Get your own MM&P hoodie today with a contribution of $250 to the MM&P PCF. Remember: your PCF contribution goes to legislators who are fighting every day to defend the programs vital to the American Merchant Marine.


MITAGS-PMI is seeking part-time simulator operators for the Transas system. Responsibilities include: maintaining simulator performance; planning for use of simulators in courses; system support. Major duties include: preparing and operating simulators; helping engineers in daily system checks; helping develop models, databases and other reports. Qualifications include: background or degree in computer science/engineering or related field; two years’ experience in network support, systems integration and programming; experience servicing and designing local area networks and personal computer systems; knowledge of maritime industry; ability to work flexible hours, including early morning, evening and/or weekend schedules; excellent writing and communications skills; proficiency in MS Office suite. Position requires moderate physical activity. If you are interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to MITAGS-PMI East Coast Campus Director Eric Friend,


The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) invites maritime industry representatives to participate in the SOCP Fall 2012 Meeting to be held at Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) & Westin Providence Hotel Oct. 22-24. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers (SNAME) meeting Oct. 24-26.

The meeting will focus on the impact of standards/rules/enforcement/compliance and regulatory changes in the areas of safety, environment and training in the maritime industry. The agenda includes presentations and panel discussions on a broad range of topics, including Vessel General Permit, ballast water regulations, human factors and mariner safety, North American ECA, vessel response plans, work force development and STCW.

All industry representatives are welcome to attend. You must, however, register to attend this event using the links on the SOCP website at under Upcoming Events or on the SNAME site at 2012AnnualMeeting/Register/. SOCP members can register to attend the SNAME meeting at the SNAME Member rate using the same link.


The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 17-18 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman:


Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.

The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford ( or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements!

Did you know that you can view your course history on Just go to the “Members Only” section and click the “Course History” tab. You can print the course list yourself. 


Try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 10/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 10/10

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 10/23, 12/3

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/11, 11/12

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 10/19

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  11/29

BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/8

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 11/12

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/22

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 10/1, 12/17

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/8

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 12/3

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/22, 11/5, 11/26, 12/10

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/1, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/5

CHS-BAS – Basic Cargo Handling & Stowage: 10/22

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 11/5

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 12/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 11/10

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 10/11

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/8

EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/17

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/8

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/26

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/10, 11/29

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/6

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/15, 12/3

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/12

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/15, 10/29, 12/3

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/20, 12/8

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 10/1, 11/12

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 10/1

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/5

RFPNW – Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch: 10/1

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5, 12/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/11

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/7, 11/26

SAR – Search & Rescue: 10/15

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/8, 11/16

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  10/8

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling:  10/15

WKP-BAS – Watchkeeping Basic (2 weeks): 10/1

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

September 2012

28thRadar Renewal

October 2012

1-5          Train the Trainer
8-12       ECDIS
8-12       Tankerman PIC
9th         Flashing Light
15-26     GMDSS
22-26     Radar Observer Unlimited
29th       Radar Renewal
29-2       Basic Construction and Stability

November 2012

5-9          Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
6-9          ARPA
7-9          Z-Drive / Tractor Tug Training
12-16     ECDIS
26-30     Radar Observer Unlimited
26-7       GMDSS

December 2012

3rd         Radar Renewal
3-7          Medical Care Provider
3-14       Medical PIC
10-14     ECDIS
17th       Flashing Light


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-25-2012 at 11:30 a.m. (EST)

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,603.97 3,174.41 1,461.84

Mutual Funds (Live)

Click a mutual fund for more information.
Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2012, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at