Wheelhouse Weekly – September 29th, 2020

September 30th 2020

Volume 25… Number 39… Sept. 29, 2020


In This Issue:


National Maritime Center Updates:


Member News:


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World governments must mount a unified response to the breakdown in the crew change process that has left hundreds of thousands of mariners stranded aboard their ships in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, MM&P Captain Hedi Marzougui told participants in a Sept. 24 United Nations event aimed at raising awareness of the crisis now unfolding on the world’s oceans.

“Not knowing when or if we will be returning home brings a severe mental toll on my crew and myself,” Marzougui said.

“I would encourage each and every one of you to think of how you would feel if you had to work every day, for 12 hours, with no weekends, without seeing your loved ones, and trapped at sea.”

“Now add that you have to do that with no idea of when you will be repatriated.”

The remarks were made during the presentation he was invited to give during a High-Level Side Event to the September meetings of the United Nations.

The other panelists at the meeting, entitled “Covid-19 and Maritime Crew Changes: A humanitarian, safety and economic crisis,” included:

— International Transport Workers’ Federation General Secretary Stephen Cotton;

— International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Kitack Lim;

— International Labor Organization Director General Guy Rider;

— leaders of some of the world’s largest corporations; and

— transport and maritime ministers from Canada, France, Kenya, Panama and the Philippines.

All urged governments to designate seafarers as essential workers and immediately implement measures to ensure safe crew change and Covid-safe transit.

Marzougui described the toll the crisis is taking on the men and women who crew the world’s ships.

“When the pandemic broke out, life on board became difficult almost immediately,” he said.

“Crew changes, shore leaves, and medical leaves were suspended or became very difficult to perform.”

“We received very limited information and it became increasingly difficult to get vital supplies and technical support. Port nations changed regulations on a daily, if not hourly basis.”

“Severe strains began to show amongst my crew almost immediately.”

“We felt we were being treated as second class citizens, with no input or control over our lives.”

Some seafarers have now been at sea for 17 months without a break, said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, well beyond the 11-month limit established under the Maritime Labor Convention.

Besides the 400,000 seafarers stuck at sea, another 400,000 are unable to join vessels.

“Overly fatigued and mentally exhausted seafarers are being asked to continue to operate ships,” said Lim, himself a former seafarer.

“Action is needed–and is needed now,” he said.

“We all depend on seafarers. They should not be the collateral victims in this pandemic. Seafarers deliver for us–and now we need to deliver for them.”

“When the ships stop,” said Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Marc Engel, “so does everything else. We are now close to an entirely avoidable breaking point which could ripple out through the economy. Even a temporary interruption could push companies and countries over the edge.”

“We might be a hidden workforce, out of the mainstream’s attention, but make no mistakes about it, we are critical to the global economy,” Marzougui said.

“Our job is one of endurance and we treat it like a marathon for the length of our contract.”

“What do you think would happen to a marathon runner, if when crossing the finish line, they were told that they needed to do it again, immediately, and without rest?”

“The fact that I was invited to speak here today proves that we are not alone in our plight.”

“It shows that some organizations and people care about us and are fighting for us. For that I am thankful.”

“However, the fact that I am here speaking to you today also proves that this crisis is far from over.”

To view a recording of the event:

Back to Stories Covered


The new Covid-19 relief legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Sept. 28 includes emergency funding for the Maritime Security Program.

The legislation, put forward by the Leadership in the House, would provide an additional $500,000 for each vessel participating in the Maritime Security Program in Fiscal Year 2021.

The additional funding is necessary due to the unexpected costs associated with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

MM&P and the other maritime unions have been working with key members of the House in support of this funding.

Special thanks and recognition go to–among others–Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), who chairs the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Our attention now turns to the Senate, where we will urge support for the MSP funding provision included in the legislation put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Back to Stories Covered


Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes for the month of August were down 25.9 percent compared to 2019, according to the Lake Carriers Association, which represents the US-flag Great Lakes fleet.

For the first eight months of 2020, iron ore shipments were nearly 23.2 percent below their five-year average.

Shipments of limestone totaled 3.6 million tons in August, a decrease of 16.6 percent compared to 2019.

Limestone cargos were below the month’s five-year average by 8.4 percent. Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 2.9 million tons, a decrease of 18 percent compared to a year ago.

Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 729,336 tons, a decrease of 10.8 percent.

Year-to-date, the Lakes limestone trade stood at 16 million tons in August, a decrease of 17.3 percent compared to a year ago.

The Great Lakes limestone trade operates out of Marblehead, Ohio, and Michigan ports Calcite, Cedarville, Drummond Island, Port Inland, and Presque Isle.

LCA has represented the Great Lakes Fleet, which can move more than 90 million tons of cargo annually, since 1880.

The materials moved include iron ore, stone, coal, cement and other dry bulk materials such as grain, salt and sand.

MM&P members who work on the Lakes are represented by the union’s United Inland Group– Great Lakes & Gulf Region.

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CMA CGM Group, the parent company of APL, said yesterday that its peripheral servers had come under attack by cyber criminals.

The giant shipping company released a statement saying that external access to its IT applications had been suspended while it dealt with the situation.

“As soon as the security breach was detected, external access to applications was interrupted to prevent the malware from spreading,” the company said in a Twitter post.

“Our teams are fully mobilized and access to our information systems is gradually resuming,” it said later in the day.

The CMA CGM company website remained operational throughout the day. Customers were told to consult local agencies for assistance with bookings.

Reports of ransomware, malware and phishing have been increasing this year, in particular since the beginning of the pandemic.

In recent years, Maersk, Cosco and Carnival have all been attacked by cybercriminals.

Back to Stories Covered


A court has ordered the captain of the MT NEW DIAMOND, a VLCC that caught fire and burned during the first 10 days of September, from leaving Sri Lanka.

Local authorities say they are considering charging him with marine pollution and criminal negligence.

For now, Captain Steiros Illias has been named a suspect in the case, which began when a fire broke out in the engine room.

Shipowner Porto Emporios, a company that is registered in Liberia, has already agreed to pay the equivalent of $2.3 million to Sri Lanka for its help in extinguishing the blaze.

The country is said to be seeking additional funds to mitigate damage to the marine environment, and India—which also participated in the firefighting—is also expected to file a claim.

When the fire broke out, the tanker was transporting nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil from Kuwait to a refinery in the Indian port of Paradip.

One crewmember died in the blaze, and another was seriously injured; 21 escaped unharmed.

The firefighting effort lasted for more than a week, as the blaze spread from the engine room to the deckhouse and bridge, and broke out again after firefighters believed it had been extinguished.

The tanker is now bound for an offshore oil terminal at Kandla Port Trust, in India, where its cargo of crude oil will be discharged.

The next hearing in the case against the master is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Back to Stories Covered


The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will take place tonight at 2100 hours.

The debate will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, and be moderated by Fox News Host Chris Wallace. Topics will include:

— The Trump and Biden Records

— The Supreme Court

— Covid-19

— The Economy

— Race and Violence in Our Cities

— The Integrity of the Election

As part the ongoing efforts by the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department to help educate union members, especially those who work in transportation industries, about the difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and the policies each candidate would pursue, TTD plans to live-tweet the debate.

TTD will be particularly focused on the Trump/Biden records, the economy, and Covid-19.

Unions that have endorsed Biden, including MM&P, will be tagged in relevant debate coverage.

You can follow our live debate coverage here.

TTD fights at the federal level for policies that protect and enhance the rights of America’s transportation workforce, including members of MM&P.

Masters, Mates & Pilots is one of the 33 transportation sector labor unions that belong to TTD.

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The National Maritime Center says it is continuing to experience increased MMC application net processing times due to the transition to telework and staggered staffing at its facility.

To help streamline application processing, it asks mariners to:

— Submit MMC applications electronically in a .pdf format (Information on submitting electronic applications is available on the NMC website);

— Use to pay all fees and include a scanned copy of the payment receipt with the application submission;

— Ensure all necessary documents (course completion certificates, drug tests, sea service forms, etc.) are included.

NMC says that approximately 50 percent of the applications it receives are missing documents, which triggers an “Additional Information is needed” letter causing processing delays.

The agency also advises mariners to submit their applications as soon as possible.

“Despite the extensions provided via Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 08-20), you should submit your application once you’ve met the requirements,” it says.

“Remember, you can apply up to eight months prior to your MMC expiration.”

Applications are processed on a ‘first in, first out’ basis.

The NMC says it will consider expediting cases when an employer verifies it is critical to operations or to an applicant’s employment.

To request expedited service, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

NMC says it is making every effort to maintain its 30-day net processing goal and thanks mariners for helping by keeping in mind the advice above.

Back to Stories Covered


The National Maritime Center has reopened Regional Examination Centers Anchorage, Baltimore, Oakland, Portland, and St. Louis for limited examination services.

With the exception of Monitoring Unit Guam, all RECs and MUs are now open for limited services.

Mariners seeking to schedule examinations at these locations may do so by contacting the REC or MU:

REC Anchorage –
REC Baltimore –
REC Boston –
REC Charleston –
REC Honolulu –
REC Houston –
REC Juneau –
REC Long Beach –
REC Memphis –
REC Miami – or (305) 536-4331 REC New Orleans –
REC New York –
REC Oakland –
REC Portland –
REC Seattle –
REC St. Louis –
REC Toledo –
MU Ketchikan – (907) 225-4496 (extension #3) MU San Juan – (787) 729-2368

Examination appointment request emails should include the applicant’s name, mariner reference number, requested testing date(s), phone number, and a copy of the Approved to Test letter(s).

Exam services will be by appointment only. No walk-in appointments are available and all other application customer service functions will continue to be handled remotely.

Mariners will be subject to Covid-19 screening questions and a temperature check.

Mariners experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter the REC/MU and will need to reschedule their appointments.

Mariners are required to wear a face covering at all times. Those who refuse to wear a face covering, or who remove face coverings during exams, will be dismissed and could be subject to examination module failure.

Persons with documented health issues which prevent them from wearing face coverings must notify the REC/MU when scheduling an appointment.

All exams fees must be paid prior to arriving at the REC for the exam. is the preferred method of payment. A receipt or other proof of payment will be required to take an examination and should be emailed to the REC before arrival.

Mariners should bring their own #2 pencils, photo ID, a non-programmable calculator, and plotting equipment. No other personal belongings are allowed in the facility.

All counter service appointments and hand delivery of applications remain suspended. Please review the REC FAQs, located on the REC page of the NMC website, for additional information regarding available services and entry requirements during the pandemic.

The Customer Service Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

You can reach the call center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) or

Back to Stories Covered


The Maritime Administration has issued an industry advisory on multiple instances of significant GPS interference in the maritime domain.

The interference has resulted in lost or inaccurate GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing, and communications equipment. Satellite communications equipment has also been affected.

Over the past year, areas from which multiple instances have been reported include the eastern and central Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and multiple Chinese ports.

A message for industry, posted by USTRANSCOM at, provides additional information on the geographic areas in which the interference has been reported.

MARAD advisories are intended to be a streamlined interagency approach to communicate with US maritime industry stakeholders regarding potential security threats.

The US Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) and NATO Shipping Center websites contain information regarding effective navigation practices for vessels experiencing GPS disruption.

The information reaffirms safe navigation practices when experiencing GPS disruptions, provides useful details on reporting disruptions, and is intended to generate further discussion within the maritime community about other disruption mitigation practices and procedures.

This guidance also recommends reporting such incidents in real time; noting critical information such as the location (latitude/longitude), date, time, and duration of the outage/disruption; and providing photographs or screen shots of equipment failures experienced to facilitate analysis.

The NAVCEN information is available at:

Maritime GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to NAVCEN at or via phone at 703-313-5900, 24-hours a day.

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President Lars Turner will hold a virtual membership meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 1330 PDT/1630 EDT.

All Offshore members and applicants are welcome to participate.

MM&P President Don Marcus, Secretary-Treasurer Don Josberger and the Pacific Ports Coast Agent will participate in the meeting.

To register for the meeting, you will need to log in to either the MM&P app or the Members’ Only section of the MM&P website.

To download the MM&P app on your mobile device, click here.

Once you are logged in, click on Offshore Membership Meeting Registration located under the Documents tab.

Back to Stories Covered


All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Oct. 12, for Columbus Day.

Back to Stories Covered


Please be advised that as of the June MATES Trustees meeting, the number of sea days required to receive covered training at MITAGS will now be 42 days instead of 30.

This temporary change has been necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic with regards to permissible class size, available staffing and cost saving measures. The measure will remain in place through the end of 2020 and be reviewed prior to the end of this year.

\\Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted\\

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman – 10/5/20, 1/25/21

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: Not currently scheduled

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 10/5/20

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: Not currently scheduled

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 10/5/20, 1/26/21
Online: Not currently scheduled

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/7/20

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/12/20, 1/18/21

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 9/23/20*, 10/28/20, 12/15/20, 2/9/21

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/23/20*, 12/14/20, 2/9/21

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/20

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 10/5/20, 11/30/20

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 9/28/20, 12/7/20

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/12/20

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 11/9/20

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 11/16/20

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – Not currently scheduled

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/9/20

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 11/16/20, 12/14/20, 2/1/21

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/14/20 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: Not currently scheduled

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/28/20, 10/12/20, 11/2/20, 11/30/20, 1/30/20, 1/11/21, 2/1/21, 2/22/21, 3/15/21

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/5/20, 10/19/20, 11/9/20, 12/7/20, 1/18/21, 2/8/21, 3/1/21, 3/22/21

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/2/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/26/20

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program **
Online: 10/14/20

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 11/2/20

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): Not currently scheduled

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): Not currently scheduled

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 12/3/20

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 12/7/20

ADV-FF – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – Not currently scheduled

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/12/20, 1/18/21

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 10/27/20, 12/17/20, 2/8/21

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 12/12/20, 2/12/21

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled
Online: 10/15/20

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): Not currently scheduled

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/16/20

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 9/28/20, 1/11/21

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 11/30/20, 1/11/21

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 11/30/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 9/28/20*, 11/30/20, 1/25/21

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 10/19/20, 1/11/21

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/28/20*, 11/30/20, 1/25/21

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 10/3/20, 10/26/20, 12/5/20, 12/18/20, 1/16/21, 1/30/21

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 11/10/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 10/30/20

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/1/20

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/28/20

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 11/2/20, 1/11/21, 3/1/21

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 11/6/20, 1/15/21, 3/5/21

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 11/7/20, 1/16/21, 3/6/21

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – 11/30/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 10/26/20*, 10/28/20*, 12/14/20*, 12/16/20*, 1/18/21, 3/15/21

PSC – Personal Survival Craft (5-Day) – 10/19/20

PSC-REF – Personal Survival Craft Refresher (2-Day) – 12/10/20

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – 9/30/20

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 12/14/20

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: Not currently scheduled

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 10/14/20, 11/30/20

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 11/16/20*, 12/14/20*, 1/25/21

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Not currently scheduled

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Not currently scheduled

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): Not Currently Scheduled

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 2/22/21

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 10/5/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Not currently scheduled

Back to Stories Covered


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

For Registration Contact our Admissions Department: 206.441.2880 or

September 2020

30th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

October 2020

12-16 ECDIS
12-16 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Medical Care Provider
12-23 Medical Person-In-Charge
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
19-23 Advanced Meteorology
19-6 Celestial Navigation
21st Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-29 Advanced Firefighting
26-30 Advanced Shiphandling I

November 2020

2-6 Advanced Shiphandling II
2-6 Radar Observer Unlimited
2-6 Basic Training
9-12 Advanced Firefighting
9-13 Leadership & Managerial Skills
9-13 Medical Care Provider
9-20 Medical Person-In-Charge
13th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-17 Basic Training Revalidation
16-18 Security Officer – Vessel, Company and Facility
16-19 ARPA
16-20 Advanced Stability
30-4 Basic Training

December 2020

4, 7-8 Basic Training Refresher
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-11 Medical Care Provider
7-18 Medical Person-In-Charge
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
10-11 Advanced Firefighting Refresher

Back to Stories Covered

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2020. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on