Wheelhouse Weekly – September 26, 2002

September 26th 2002


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

Volume 6 . . . . . Number 39 . . . . . September 26, 2002










Negotiations continue between the ILWU and PMA. A threatened lockout was averted last week and some progress has been reported this week on the major issue of technological change. The ILWU has always been willing to accept technological change, but the union rightfully insists that new work created by new technology stays with the ILWU.

MM&P stands firmly with the ILWU. In Seattle last week a dozen MM&P members joined ILWU protesters at Stevedore Services of America (SSA) HQ in Seattle. The lunchtime rally included a MM&P job call on the sidewalk managed by MM&P pro-tem Dave Hudson who was manning the phones.

MM&P members continue to turn out in force to demonstrate the Union’s solidarity with the ILWU who have now gone three months without a contract. For those members that haven’t done so already, please add your name and phone number to the volunteer lists located in all West Coast Halls.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The headquarters offices of MM&P-contracted AHL and Waterman Steamship Lines as well as the cargo terminals at the Port of New Orleans were closed Wednesday and Thursday September 25-26 as a result of the heavy rains and high winds of Tropical Storm Isidore. Gantry cranes and other port equipment was tied down wherever possible.

The storm dumped vast amounts of rain on the New Orleans area after it made landfall early Thursday morning. In anticipation of the storm, schools and businesses in New Orleans were closed, and evacuations were ordered for outlying areas. Mississippi River pilots stopped escorting foreign vessels up and down the lower Mississippi River as of daybreak Wednesday.

In Mississippi, the Port of Pascagoula was closed to ship traffic on Tuesday afternoon and all terminals shut down shortly before noon on Wed. At Mobile, AL, port terminals remained open but port officials advised vessels to take all hurricane precautions, including tying up with extra lines or immediately heading out to sea for safety.

At least two container ships skipped calls at New Orleans this week. Lykes Lines’ VOYAGER diverted to its next scheduled stop at Charleston, SC. A second Lykes vessel, the 2,800-TEU-capacity NAVIGATOR, also skipped New Orleans in favor of its next call in Mexico.

By the time the storm reached New Orleans in the pre-dawn hours with 60-mph winds and soaking rain, the system had lost much of its punch compared to the Category 3 hurricane that roared through the Yucatan Peninsula earlier this week, killing two and leaving 300,000 homeless.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant attended this year’s US Merchant Marine Academy Career Fair Day held at Kings Point on Wednesday, September 25. Cadets from all USMMA classes visited the MM&P booth.

Later, at a seminar held in the auditorium, Plant along with representatives from MEBA and the MSC discussed sailing opportunities in today’s industry. Plant informed the cadets that the maritime industry is in a crisis. He said that government action is needed to build a viable working merchant marine.

Plant discussed the need to build additional double hull tankers as well as new Jones Act container vessels. He said that US shipyards need encouragement to build commercial, not just naval, vessels. He also urged all students to write their Congressmen and Senators to reinforce the need for a strong US merchant marine.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Maersk Line, an affiliate of MM&P-contracted Maersk Sealand that operates US-flag vessels, will transfer four foreign-flag Panamax vessels into the US registry next month replacing four vessels under the Maritime Security Program that Maersk Line Ltd., is currently running.

The 4,300 TEU vessels currently operate between the US East Coast and ports in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent. The ships will each be enrolled in the Maritime Security Program (MSP).

According to the Journal of Commerce, the four 1,500-TEU Maersk ships that are currently in the MSP program will be flagged-out to a foreign registry. Those ships operate between Panama and the West Coast of South America.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



A memorial fund has been established in the memory of recently deceased MM&P member Jerry Backman. Jerry shipped out of San Francisco and was 49-years old at the time of his tragic death as the result of an auto accident last month.

He will be affectionately remembered as a loyal union brother, outstanding licensed deck officer and a fine person. Jerry leaves a widow, a 22-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.

Donations on behalf of Jerry will be used to assist with the education of his children. The Backman family is privately managing the fund. They are most appreciative of all the messages expressing sympathy and the positive stories from his shipmates and friends.

Contributions can be sent to:

The Jerry B. Backman Memorial Fund c/o Bank of the West 2900 Railroad Avenue Pittsburg, CA 94565

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expires. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and can no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.



~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.



Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.



All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.



Participants will be receiving a brochure in early October that will include a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.



Please contact the Plans Benefit Advisors if you have any questions prior to October 1, 2002 or you can Email questions to: Ann Marie McCullough, Director of Claims at, or Valerie Verrecchio, Plans Administrator at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings

Plenty of seats remain in Advanced Fire Fighting, BST, Computer, and GMDSS classes between now and the end of the year. Open seats remain in the MSC Communications courses beginning October 7 and November 4. Confined Space Entry class has spots available for the week of October 28.


DOT Training for D&A

In addition to the 3-day program already scheduled, a one day course, acceptable to the USCG, that substantially complies with the new DOT requirements for Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and Screening Test Technician (STT) will be presented at MITAGS October 12, November 9,and December 14. Contact admissions for quotas.

Course Openings in the Coming Weeks

  • 10/7-11: ARPA, MSC-COMM
  • 10/7-18: MED-PIC
  • 10/7: ROR-1
  • 10/14-18: BST
  • 10/21-25: COMP-APS, FF-ADV
  • 10/21-11/1: GMDSS
  • 10/21-11/15: LAP
  • 10/28-11/1: COMP-NET, CSE-AAES
  • 11/4-8: ARPA, BRM, CMM-SHS-1, MSC-COMM


You can now check schedule and register on-line or contact Admissions at or 443-989-3226.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings:

  • 9/30-10/4: VPEN, ECDIS, GMDSS
  • 9/30-10/11: Adv Nav
  • 10/7-11: BST
  • 10/14-18: TPIC ADWX
  • 10/14-25: Med 1ST/MPIC
  • 10/21-25: MAXIMO, BAFF
  • 10/28-11/1: ARPA
  • 10/28-11/8: GMDSS
  • 11/4-6: BRM
  • 11/4-8: BST
  • 11/11-15: ARPA
  • 11/15-22: Med 1/MPIC
  • 11/18-19: MAXIMO
  • 11/18-22: RADAR, BAFF
  • 12/2-3: MAXIMO
  • 12/2-6: TPIC, BST
  • 12/9-13: ECDIS, BAFF
  • 12/9-20: Med 1/MPIC
  • 12/16-20: ARPA, RFPNW

For the latest up-to-date info on class schedules, visit the PMI website at


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 D O W

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-330.60 for the week


 -29.84 for the week
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Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Pursuant to a Resolution adopted at the MM&P’s 79th Convention, the web-based bulletin board established by the MM&P for communication among its members is going to be discontinued. The bulletin board was set up following passage of a Resolution calling for its establishment during the MM&P’s 78th Convention in 2000.

Since its establishment, fewer than one percent of MM&P members have registered to use the system and even fewer registered members have actually posted messages.

Members are advised that the bulletin board will go off-line about October 31, 2002 which is 90 days from the date of publication of the July-August edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot which was printed July 31.

Note: Shut-down of the bulletin board should not be confused with operation of the Members’-only web site accessed from the MM&P’s main web page. That site continues to get excellent traffic and improvements continue to be made.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P has established a Fund to receive donations on behalf of Gisele Schmidt, the daughter of Brother Gary Schmidt. Gisele, who is 21, was rendered paralyzed as the result of a tragic auto accident in March.

Contributions may be made payable to the Gisele Schmidt Fund and should be mailed in care of MM&P, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email for all the details.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping maintains a “job line” that provides info on available rotary jobs. Information is posted at the beginning of each month for the current month. It is only updated during the month if an error occurred in the original month’s posting. All jobs continue to be posted and shipped out of the Union Halls, the line is for info purposes only. The job line may be reached by calling 504-522-3300 and requesting the Job Line at extension 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has issued a Safety Alert reporting that a high percentage of antennas attached to Satellite 406 Category I EPIRBs, product number 2754, manufactured by ACR Electronics, have failed.

On several occasions the antenna’s outer rubber coating was discovered ripped or torn. Closer inspection often revealed extensive internal corrosion. Other antennas showed no perforations on the outer rubber coating but displayed bulges on the antennae near its base. Upon closer inspection when the bulging area was sliced open, total wastage of the antennae interior was revealed.

It is reported that evidence of a corrosion failure may be discovered when the antenna is unscrewed from the EPIRB body assembly. Rusty liquid dripping from the antenna or moisture present inside the threaded section are tell-tale signs of failing equipment.

The company will replace damaged antennas at no cost.

If similar problems are encountered with your vessel’s 2754 EPIRB antenna, contact ACR Electronics Customer Service Representatives at 800-432-0227, ext. 110 to receive a replacement antenna.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel operators carefully examine their EPIRB antennas, particularly those manufactured by ACR Electronics.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s BS program in International Maritime Business is seeking a business administration generalist for a full-time tenure track faculty appointment. The position is available beginning March 1, 2003.

Apply to:

Associate Dean of Human Resources Massachusetts Maritime Academy 101 Academy Drive Buzzards Bay, MA 02532

Include cover letter, resume and three references.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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