August 2019 Newsletter

The Marine Chemist Association held an Executive Board meeting in Orlando on July 14, 2019 in conjunction with our 61st annual seminar. A summary of the meeting and events is provided below.

The Marine Chemist’s 61st annual seminar was held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel from July 15 to 18th. The theme of the seminar this year was LNG. The seminar was intended to provide initial and refresher training for those seeking the initial LNG endorsement and will count for recertification for those holding the LNG endorsement. (If you hold the endorsement you will not need to take the LNG exam to requalify). Mr. Neil Macnab, the training manager for GTT Global presented a day-long course on various aspects of LNG. This was followed up the next day by presentations by Crowley and Tote, owners and operators of LNG-fueled vessels. These presentations showed various perspectives of the LNG industry.

The MCQB has approved the use of the LNG Fuel System Familiarization Training that was presented to the Marine Chemists and Trainee in attendance at the 2019 MCA Annual Meeting and Seminar in Orlando, FL. The approval will allow Marine Chemists and the trainee who attended the conference to use the training program to meet the requirements within the Rules for the Certification and Recertification of Marine Chemists, Section VI.A.2.b (obtaining the endorsement for flammable cryogenic liquid (FCL) vessels; and Section VI.B.1.b (renewal of the FCL endorsement).

On Monday, we started the day with our welcome breakfast and a speaker from Wild Florida who gave us a brief history of the Orlando area and brought an alligator and sloth for photos. It was very entertaining. Following this our spouse and friends tour went to Wild Florida for an airboat ride, lunch, and tour. Some attendees said it was the best tour we ever hosted for the friends and spouses.

On Monday afternoon, as part of our technical sessions, Amy Wangdahl from the OSHA office of Maritime and Agriculture presented us with an overview of current activities. This was followed by Joe Cox who gave a budget outline from the Marine Gas Hazard Control Program.

Later we had a presentation from Tim Williamson and Rik Van Hemmen who provide worldwide salvage operations for Don Jon/SMIT. Don Jon/SMIT gave a presentation and are looking to partner with chemists who would be willing to be part of their team. For those chemists or companies who are able to do this it presents a unique opportunity. The compensation is good and there is a $2000 incentive bonus for responding within 4 hours. Also, they are looking for chemists from various regions of the country to respond in their geographic areas. The downside is that you have to be ready to respond and travel to unknown areas for an unknown amount of time. If you or your company is interested view the presentation on the website for more information and contact information.

All of the presentations at the seminar will be posted to the website. Some are already up and the larger files will be posted soon.

At total of 90 individuals attended this seminar. The breakdown was 29 chemists, 7 GFEs and one trainee. The number was down from our average of 34 chemists attending.

However, our meeting room was full with members of the USCG, Navy and associated boards attending. The attendance list is posted on the Member’s Only section of the website. If you were there please check to see that your name is listed.

For our annual group activity this year we went to Andretti Go Carts for racing. There was some initial skepticism, but once there everyone had a great time. The venue was upscale and we had a private bar and meal followed by racing.

The Atlantic Section hosted a hospitality suite with food and beverages. We had a large space with access to the outdoor patio. It was enjoyed throughout the seminar, although due to the heat most stayed in the AC.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5929″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]This year things were changed up and we combined the chairman’s reception with registration and offered Monday as a free night. This seemed to work out well and may be the model in the future. The second change was to charge $25 for the spouse’s/friend’s tour. This was to ensure buy-in as there were a significant amount of no-shows during the seminar in Nashville. The MCA must still pay for those who don’t show up. Unfortunately, again this year even with the $25 fee the MCA spent over $4000 on no-shows. Your executive board will continue to review this event as it is typically offered with the cost of registration, however the $200 fee barely covered the $190 per person cost of this one event.

The breakfast offered in the hospitality suite was scaled back, however this was attended by only about 8 – 10 individuals daily. This will be reviewed also.

General Information

The Excom is reviewing a submission for inspection criteria for above ground storage tanks in marine terminals. The submission will be edited and submitted for consideration in the next revision on NFPA 306.

Joe Schneider CMC 660 has announced his retirement. The MCA wishes him the best.

During the recent Excom meeting a discussion on using an occupational-based physical for chemists and trainees was discussed. While the board agreed this had some merit there was concern that access to an occupational physical may not be possible in all parts of the country. The board recommended that the MCQB look into and consider this possibility.

The MCQB also asked the board to consider an addition to its ethics policy to include a statement that if a chemist has knowledge that another chemist has violated a section of 306 that they should notify the ethics committee who in turn would notify the MCQB. The board was not in favor of this and notified the MCQB of the decision.

Larry Russell reported that a large number of chemists are not up to date with their monthly reporting. While there has been a change in the method to purchase certificates, reporting is still necessary to track the status of the program. It should be noted that the reporting requirements are greatly simplified and you only have to enter the number of certificates both written and electronic into the NFPA site. Monthly reporting is done through the following web site.

A discussion was held on chemists not doing complete inspections, especially the visual inspection part. At the annual and section seminars the need to complete a full inspection will be stressed along with the effect that doing an incomplete inspection can have on the profession.

EMCC and Certificates

Any questions on the EMCC program, computer and printer problems should be addressed to Rick Sterling. ( Rick came to the annual seminar and updated many computers that the chemists brought along. He is a great asset if you need help.


As past chairman, Brian Axelrad is now the ethics chair. Any submissions should be sent to Brian.


The MCA website ( has been updated. It has a modern feel and has gotten many positive reviews. There is a members-only section which requires a log-in. Hopefully, everyone has been able to log-in and view it. In the members only section, you can view seminar attendance for the past several years, this is one of the most popular areas for chemists. If you have an issue with your log-in you can contact the administrator at

Additionally, the MCA recently purchased If you visit this site you will be redirected to the current MCA website.

At the last board meeting it was requested that a members’ only forum page be set up for private discussions. This will only open to certified chemists. Development is underway and more details will follow.

Life Membership

Tom Littlepage CMC 629, and Tagay Kang CMC 562 have retired. Following endorsements from their sections the Executive Board voted to recommend both for life membership. Tom has been on the executive board, served as national chairman and has done numerous presentations for the MCA and to various industry groups.

Tagay has also served on the Executive Committee and served as national chairman. He has been active on the insurance fund and in industry groups.

Both Tom and Tagay define the extraordinary service requirement. They were both voted in as life members at the 2019 business meeting. Congratulations.


The 2019 MCA scholarships have been awarded. The recipients are:

  • Grant Jenny, son of Geoffery Jenny 685 (first award)
  • Angeline Dovinh, daughter of Philip Dovinh 667 (third award)
  • Mallory Taylor, daughter of Jason Taylor 714 and granddaughter of Ken Mercer 577 (first award)
  • Sarah Klein, granddaughter of David Capen 632 (first award)
  • Leia Collado, daughter of Blair Duff 698 (second award)
  • Johnson Godfrey, son of Scott Godfrey 692 (second award)
  • Luke Herbert, son of Troy Herbert 638 (third award)
  • Robert Tew, son of Robert Tew 712 (second award)

Scholarship Committee Members


The first sectional seminar of 2019 was held in Houston on March 16th. There were 34 chemists in attendance. The next sectional seminar is in the fall and registration forms are available on the website.

The Schedule for Seminars

Future Meeting Locations


2020 San Francisco. Hilton/Parc 55 July 27-29, 2020.

  • Our 2020 annual seminar will be held in San Francisco. We have booked two hotels directly across from each other. Most of the seminars will be held at the Parc 55 Hotel and our hospitality suite will be in the Hilton Union Square. We have a private two-story suite with outdoor space at the Hilton and some events will be held at this property. You will have the option of booking your rooms at either property. They are both Hilton properties. More information will follow as we get closer.

Sectional Seminar

Atlantic – Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel, 3315 Scott Futrell Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28208, (704) 392-1200, March 28, 2020
Gulf – Chicago, Chicago O’Hare Hilton. October 24, 2020.

MCA Logo

During our annual business meeting the subject of updating our banner was discussed. We have had our logo for many years, however few chemists know what is stands for, especially the younger chemists. Our logo is made up of three symbols, a retort flask, which stands for the distillation of knowledge, the anchor which indicates a maritime heritage and a strong foundation, and finally, the torch lighting the way. Even among chemists you will find differing opinions on what the three symbols mean. The idea first came up when our marketing firm asked about the logo and suggested it was outdated. I had never thought about it and decided to bring it up for discussion at the annual business meeting. As you may expect there were differing and strong opinions, although there was a distinct divide. The chemists with more experience and lower CMC numbers wanted it to remain the same. The younger chemists (with higher CMC numbers) who don’t even know what a retort flask is wanted it to be updated. Have you ever had someone ask you what that thing is in the corner of our logo?

In the end it was decided to have a graphic artist come up with three new designs for review. One question which I asked was who is a logo for, the Association or our customers/industry? When I asked this question of our marketing person they replied that a logo is always for the customer who associates it with your service.

No decision has been made. We may keep the old logo, however I believe it is never wrong to think outside the box and explore other options. If you have some artistic skills and wish to send me your idea I will be happy to put it in the mix.


The Association is continuing to look at outreach opportunities to keep us in front of the industry. The general consensus is our presence at industry shows such as the workboat show and the Inland work show was good, although expensive and with just a minor impact.

Another option we are working on is in conjunction with the Marine Gas Hazards Control Program. Longtime MGHCP member Ed Wilmot, who was vice president of marine insurance at Great American Insurance Company, is now semi-retired, and has agreed to use his connections in the insurance industry to promote the MCA at major insurance events. As he pointed out during our meeting, “He is not a chemist and needs to tell our story and needs our help. He is developing a presentation titled “The Role of the Marine Chemist – The Voice of Safety”. Ed needs pictures of hazardous conditions encountered, (accompanied by narratives), accidents that occurred but could have been avoided had a chemist been called, unusual situations encountered and unique solutions. Reach deep into your collective memories and provide some excitement so that he can persuade the insurance industry to mandate use of a chemist when appropriate. As Ed pointed out there is a declining number of underwriters who went to sea and they do not know what a chemist does or how it can save insurance a lot of money. Please help him tell our story. Send narratives and pictures to

The MCA is also developing a trifold pamphlet which can be given out at different events. It is hoped that this will be ready by the late fall. It has been reviewed by the Excom and is out for final editing.

The board is also considering staffing a booth at the Spill Control Association of America for next year.

Code of Conduct for Meetings

During any official MCA sessions there should be no discussion of personal matters, private disputes, or business pricing. Discussion should be limited to technical matters and the business of running the MCA.

Marine Chemist Clothing and Lands’ End

The MCA has established a relationship with Lands’ End where you can go to their website and purchase any item they offer and have a choice of MCA logos embroidered on it. The clothing is of high quality and they offer a wide selection from shirts to messenger bags, jackets, mugs, pants etc.

To get to the site enter:

Once you pick an item you can select from several different logos and the decide where to place it. Many of the items are given as gifts during seminars.

Business Opportunities

Effective October 15, Ed Wilmot of the MGHCP will oversee operations at the International Cargo Gear Bureau. ICGB is a 70 year old organization that witnesses safe working load (SWL) operations on cargo gear on ships and terminals. He has offered training to our members to become a certified ICGB contractor to witness and certify SWL testing. Since we are all working in yards and terminals and are aware of safety protocols, it is an easy step and a way to supplement income with existing clients. If you are interested in more information, training requirements or anything else, please contact him at

Facebook Page

For those of you who are on Facebook, a Facebook page has been set up called Friends of Marine Chemist Association. It is a closed group and only chemists, spouses and friends can view and post on the page. If you’d like to visit the page, send a friend request to the group. Some photos of the seminar have been posted and we encourage all to post information, photos, comments or anything else related to our profession, seminars, and events. Please check it out. It proved very popular when posting information about our annual seminar.

Respectfully submitted,
Don Raffo
Secretary/Treasurer MCA

Any opinions, policies or statements expressed in this newsletter are the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of the MCA.