Wheelhouse Weekly – September 30, 2004

September 30th 2004


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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 40 . . . . September 30, 2004




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



As this Wheelhouse Weekly was being finalized MM&P learned that good news may be in the offing on Patriot Contract Services’ protest to the award of LMSR vessel operations to AMSEA. Initial indications are that Patriot’s bid protests lodged with GAO have been ruled valid and will be fully considered. Additional details will be provided as they are learned.

Earlier this week, Capt. Saunders Jones, Executive Vice President of MM&P-contracted Patriot provided an update on the status of Patriot’s protest of the LSMR award:

“Upon receipt by GAO of our Protest last week, an automatic stay against implementation of the award was put in place. The next step is “gathering of the record” by GAO. This takes about thirty days from date of filing of the Protest. After that the review and determination of the validity of the Protest by GAO will take approximately 90 days. This time line takes us out to mid January for all the LMSRs except GORDON and GILLILAND.

These two are the small business set-asides and at this time there is a challenge to the awardee’s status as such. Patriot does not have standing in that award.

Scheduled turnover operations on all ships have been canceled. There will be no turnover related activities until the Protest is ruled on and/or the stay lifted. In the case of the GORDON and GILLILAND, turnover will depend on the small business set aside challenge and any other Protest that might be filed. The above time schedule will be impacted and most probably extended out by any activations that may be ordered.

The upshot of all this is that we are still on the ships and will continue to manage them under the contract extension that is currently until January 22nd 2005. This could very well go out further. We will keep you posted.

As a cadet at SUNY Maritime, we were trained to respond to the cry “One Hand!” when a classmate or shipmate needed help. I am personally asking all addressees here for “One Hand” in our fight to keep our contract. I again ask you all to stand with us. Continue to man and operate the LMSR’s safely and professionally! Pride and professionalism are your hallmark!

Patriot and your union(s) need your unity and support. We (Patriot) will continue pursuit of the Protest, seeking overturn of the Award.”




On September 25, MM&P United Inland Group representatives and Oscar Niemeth Towing management reached a tentative accord on terms of a new contract.

In a vote today, Sept.30, in San Francisco, Oscar Niemeth Towing bargaining unit members ratified the contract in a close vote.

Among significant improvements contained in the new contract are:

  • a 23 percent increase in wages over the life of the agreement;
  • increased Health & Welfare contributions by the employer;
  • a 50 percent increase in employer pension contributions ; and
  • seniority dispatching.

The new agreement is effective Sept.30, 2004 and runs through June 30, 2007.

MM&P members employed by Oscar Niemeth had been on their job action since June 22, during which time they encountered significant financial hardships in meeting day-to-day living expenses. MM&P’s General Executive Board stepped up to the plate earlier this summer to provide some financial assistance and Delegates to the MM&P Convention in August also contributed several thousand dollars to the Strike Fund to help these members see things through.

Contributions to the UIG members’ Oscar Niemeth Towing Strike Fund are still needed and welcomed. Money contributed to this fund will be used to help these MM&P brothers and sisters defray day-to-day living expenses and debts that mounted during their 4 months holding the line. Contributions may be sent to: MM&P-ONT Strike Fund, 450 Harrison St., East Mezzanine Room 205, San Francisco, CA 94105-2691.

For more info, contact MM&P’s UIG-PMR San Francisco Branch Agent at 415-543-5694 or by Email to or call MM&P’s UIG-PMR Portland Branch Agent at 503-283-0518 or by Email to



At their meeting at MM&P HQ on Aug.31, the International Ballot Committee set the dates for the MM&P election ballot count. Monday, December 13, 2004 marks the end of 90-day Ballot Period. All ballots must be received by 0900 on Dec.13 or they will not be counted. The ballot count takes place at MITAGS and will start at 1100 hrs.




All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Director of Special Projects IOMM&P 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090  


Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.



LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)



Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) is urging that quick, positive action be taken by House/Senate Conferees on legislation that will give tax relief to the US shipping industry. The maritime tax reform legislation being considered in part of the Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act (HR 4520). Smith, who serves both on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, wants the bill to be on the President’s desk before the 108th Congress adjourns.

The measure will permit a US-flag shipping company to pay an annual tax based on the overall tonnage of its fleet in lieu of the current corporate tax, thus allowing US carriers to be more competitive with their foreign counterparts.

“It is clear to me that the ability of the American shipowner to operate ships on a comparable economic basis as foreign competitors is vital to the competitiveness of the US-flag industry,” Smith said. “Yet, US shipping companies are subject to significantly higher taxes than their foreign-based competition, particularly those that operate foreign vessels under what are commonly known as ‘flag-of-convenience’ countries. Thus, American shipowners are increasingly unable to compete with their foreign-flag counterparts in the foreign trade of the US.”

Sen. Smith noted that, “This legislation is urgently needed to preserve US-flag shipping and related employment opportunities for US merchant mariners. At this time there are only 89 US-flag vessels engaged in the foreign trade that are operated by US companies to which this tonnage tax plan would apply.” He urged that the measure be implemented now, “to prevent further reductions in an already decimated US-flag commercial fleet and depleted mariner pool.”

The presidents of the MM&P, MEBA, AMO and SIU sent a letter to Sen. Max Baucus, the ranking member of the Committee of Finance, that strongly supported the tonnage tax proposal that is contained in HR 4520. They noted that a number of other industrialized nations, including Denmark, Germany, Norway and the UK have established similar tax plans as a means to attract and retain commercial flag fleets.

The maritime union presidents further noted that, “adopting a similar tax proposal for US-flag commercial vessels as contained in HR 4520 would help create a positive economic environment of US-flag international shipping operations in line with that of other major US trading partners.”



Distributions to the 717 living, known members of the Washington Street Marine Officers Corporation, WASMOC, Local 88 Trust should have all been mailed as of or before Sept.30. If you have received no info, and believe that you are entitled to WASMOC proceeds and were a member of the Local 88 Trust on Sept.30, 1970 call the New York/New Jersey Union Hall at 201-963-1900.



Raffle tickets for a chance on winning a beautiful original painting of the SEAWANHAKA by MM&P member, Maryland Pilot and artist Capt. Brian Hope commissioned by the MM&P are available at $25 each, 5 for $100. Proceeds will benefit the Masters, Mates & Pilots Political Contribution Fund. (The fire aboard the SEAWANHAKA and the scapegoating of Capt. Charles Smith are the beginnings of the MM&P.)

Ticket purchases should be made payable to the MM&P PCF with a notation for the raffle in the memo line, and mailed to the

MM&P PCF 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Tickets can also be obtained by members making PCF contributions through the Members Only section of the MM&P website, noting that the contribution is for the raffle. Tickets are also available through MM&P port offices.

Cutoff for ticket purchases is Dec.31, 2004. Drawing for the prize will take place at noon on Jan.7, 2005 at MITAGS. Also available at a later date will be a limited number of prints of this painting, numbered and signed by the artist, for a $50 contribution to the PCF designated for the print.

Capt. Brian Hope is a self-taught artist. He graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1965. He joined the MM&P upon graduation from Kings Point and sailed on the Vietnam Sealift and later with US Lines, until joining the Association of Maryland Pilots in 1970.

He continues as an active pilot and an at-large convention delegate with the Pilot Division of the MM&P. His son, Jeremy, a 1999 Kings Point graduate, is a member of the Offshore Division of the MM&P. Capt. Hope’s paintings hang in several museums and in many businesses and private homes throughout the Baltimore-Washington area.

Several of his works may be seen at MITAGS as well. He considers himself to be a “folk artist”, that is, one whose artistic subject revolves around his field of work, but who does not make a living as an artist. He says, “If I relied on my art to survive I would have starved to death long ago! I paint because it’s fun.”

In addition to his art work, Capt. Hope was Chairman of Project Liberty Ship from 1988 to 2002, helping to guide the restoration of the Liberty Ship JOHN W. BROWN.


The fine print:

Raffle tickets are available only to those individuals who are otherwise eligible to make a contribution to the MM&P PCF. Contributions in exchange for raffle tickets or for a signed and numbered print do not qualify for any other PCF contribution incentive premiums. All contributions to the MM&P PCF, including contributions in exchange for raffle tickets, are voluntary contributions for political purposes and no physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals or thereat thereof has been or will be used to secure such contributions. PCF contributions are not deductible for tax purposes.



The following AFL-CIO website has some good links regarding the upcoming national elections in November:





Between now and the end of November, seats are available in the following courses:

  • AIS-1 – Automatic Identification System: 10/4, 10/19
  • AIS-1/PPU – Auto ID System/Portable Pilot Unit: 11/01, 11/05
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 10/18, 11/01
  • AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System: 11/01
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/05
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/25, 11/08

CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/25
  • CMM-CHS I – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 11/01
  • CMM-CHS II – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 11/08
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 11/01
  • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/18
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 11/08
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/27, 10/29, 11/05
  • CSE-AAES – Confined Space Awareness-Analysis: 11/08
  • CSE-AWR2 – 2-day Confined Space Seminar: 9/30, 11/18
  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Adv Firefighting: 11/08
  • FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 11/03
  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress & Safety System: 10/25
  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 11/01
  • HAZMAT – Hazardous Materials Evening Seminar: 10/20
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/31, 11/03, 11/10
  • MAR-SEC-PRO – Security Training for Port Facility Security Professionals: 11/18
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/26, 10/28 and 11/04
  • MED-DOT-DA – DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/16
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/25
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/25

MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 10/25, 11/13 and 11/17
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 10/21, 11/15
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Renewal (2-day): 10/26, 10/28
    (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)


  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original & Renewal: 10/11
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/02, 10/13, 10/18, 11/01


  • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 11/09
  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 10/11, 11/01
  • SEC-PLT – Security Training for Pilots: 11/02
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 11/15


  • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 11/15
  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 11/04



If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.



Courses are subject to change. Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with all course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions and updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.




All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.

October 2004

  • 10/04-08: Basic Safety Training
  • 10/04: Flashing Light (OIC)
  • 10/04-06: Emergency Shiphandling
  • 10/11-22: GMDSS
  • 10/11-22: Advanced Shiphandling
  • 10/11-15: ARPA
  • 10/11: Radar Recertification
  • 10/11-13: Ship/Company Security Officer
  • 10/25-29: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 10/25-29: ECDIS
  • 10/25-29: Able Bodied Seaman

November 2004

  • 11/01-02: RFPNW
  • 11/01-05: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 11/01-05: Basic Shiphandling
  • 11/08-19: GMDSS
  • 11/08-12: ARPA
  • 11/08-12: MEDPRO
  • 11/08-19: MEDPIC
  • 11/08: Radar Recertification
  • 11/15-17: Emergency Shiphandling
  • 11/15-17: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 11/15-19: Basic Safety Training

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for class openings and registration, or visit the PMI website at



 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,077.40 -31.78 for the week  1,888.91  +3.20 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


~ Reminders ~



The U.S. Coast Guard has a number of jobs that might be of interest to retired MMP members. Go to the USCG website at then click on the link for “Coast Guard Jobs” in the lower left column, then “Jobs/Careers”, then “Civilian Careers” and then “Current Job Openings”.



MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants should have received information in the mail in early August a letter from NMHC regarding the mail order benefit through the Plan. Effective August 15, NMHC Mail will take over the mail order portion of the pharmacy benefit currently handled by Eckerd Pharmacy Services. This change in providers does not affect your prescription benefit.

For members with existing prescriptions on file with EPS, NMHC Rx has coordinated all MM&P member information with EPS so that all of your prescriptions with remaining refills will be automatically transferred to NMHC Mail. Simply call NMHC Mail at 1-800-456-4803 or visit the website at to request your prescription refill.

As always, if you should have any questions, please contact the Plan Office at 410-850-8500.


When you or your provider use the IVR system at the Plan Office to check eligibility, remember that the Plan Office updates eligibility on a monthly basis. This does not mean that your eligibility will terminate at the end of the month simply because the system states that you are eligible until a certain date. Individual contracts have different extension of eligibility rules and the only way we can provide accurate eligibility information for the membership is to download a new eligibility tape on a monthly basis.



The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



Members are reminded that for the duration of the MM&P election period the name or likeness of any known candidate for any elected MM&P position will not be referred to by name or photo in any MM&P publication. Reference may be made by title or in contact information such as an email address when it is directly relevant to the communication.

As example, the Master of a MM&P-contracted ship who has declared himself to be a candidate for a MM&P elective position was recently quoted in an article appearing in the “Master, Mate & Pilot”, but was referenced as the Master of the vessel and not by name. Similarly, this member’s likeness was not included in a photo published with the article. This same rule was applied within the same publication with regard to two other members employed by MM&P at Union headquarters who are candidates for elective position.

This rule has been put into effect to ensure that publications by the MM&P to MM&P members are not used on behalf of any candidate for campaign purposes. These exclusions will end upon completion of the election.

Members wanting to know more about this policy may contact International Counsel John Singleton at 410-850-8700 x19, email:, or Communications Director Karl Schwartz at 410-850-8700 x27, email:

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 and is posted on our web page.