June 2001 Issue

2001 ANNUAL SEMINAR – The 43rd Annual Seminar of the Marine Chemist Association will be held at the Mystic Hilton Hotel in Mystic Connecticut, July 23, 24 and 25, 2001. The seminar’s keynote speech and general membership meeting will start the seminar Monday, July 23. Technical presentations will begin Monday after the MCA membership meeting and proceed through mid-day on Wednesday, July 25.

(Hint: Before you put this newsletter down, if you are planning to attend this year’s annual seminar, call and make your reservations! Deadline for special room rate: June 30, 2001. Telephone number, Mystic Hilton: 860/572-0731 – Ask for reservations for the Marine Chemist Association: $145.00 night + 12% CT tax.) Registration form is on the back page of this newsletter. The technical program will consist of presentations covering discovery of unexpected cadmium exposure in marine confined space work, and a demonstrated syn-gernistic relationship between noise exposure and hearing loss. Topics covering shipbreaking, the USCG’s fingerprinting chemistry of oil releases, and a descrip-tion of the Navy’s new T-AKE vessels will be presented. In addition to an instrument manufacturer’s roundtable and exposition, a study on the interchangeability of de-tector tubes and pumps will be given. (NIOSH’s study done in the 1970’s has been updated in the past few years by two manufacturers, RAE Systems and MSA. The results are interesting and not in agreement with much that is taught on this matter.)

An update on the electronic certificate writing field applications program is scheduled, and presentations on NFPA’s Cutting and Welding Processes standard, NFPA 51B, will be made. Mr. Frank Losey of the American Shipbuilders Association will make a much anticipated presentation, and, of course, a presentation on the final form and changes in NFPA 306 will be given by the committee members present.

The social program will include a Chairman’s Recep-tion on Monday evening, and Dinner at the Mystic Aquarium, sponsored by the Gas Hazards Control Pro-gram and the Marine Chemist Association on Tuesday evening. There will be a guests’ tour of the Mystic area and world-famous Mystic Seaport on Monday. On Tuesday there will be a trip to the Mashantucket-Pequot Tribal Nation Museum and near-by spectacular Foxwoods entertainment and gaming complex (for interested adults) during the technical program.

The closest major airport to Mystic is Providence’s Green International. Automobile rental are available at the airport. The distance is about 40 miles west on Rt. 95, at exit 90. The hotel is at the exit beside the Mystic Aquarium.

Mystic is near the heart of Connecticut’s maritime heritage community, with Nautilus Park, General Dy-namics/Electric Boat Division and the USCG Academy not far away. The seminar will be held at the peak of New England’s temperate summer, and attendees will be within striking distance of Cape Cod, New York City and even New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It’s a great place to plan a family vacation, and the seminar promises to be a great time for all. Hope to see you there!

CHAIRMAN’S CORNER – BUILDING TRUE CON-SENSUS? This cycle of 306 started and continued for about two years as the smooth and open process that it was designed to be. It became a firestorm during its fi-nal phase. Just when we thought the revised standard was done there came a barrage of threats, attempted distortion of facts, don’t-ask-don’t-tell policies, even wa-vering support for the process. Opportunism of some players was coupled with the lack of knowledge of oth-ers in an attempt to overturn the 306 process. There was even a thread of OSHA’s inability to read its own standard. Days on the phone and many sleepless nights were spent trying to save the process, and it got more than a little depressing. Yet, I would not have traded this experience for anything in the world.

I have always viewed the job of marine chemist, re-gardless of who signs the check, as that of being advo-cate for the shipyard worker’s safety. Idealistically, I thought to some extent this view was shared by the rest of the maritime world. A different view has never been more evident than with this revision of 306. I have talked with countless representatives from labor, OSHA, MACOSH, NFPA, Navy, Coast Guard, vessel owners and operators and shipyards across the country in the past few weeks. As a result I realized that chemists and your Association are advocates and more. Because of the hands-on nature of our job, in many places we may be the only thing resembling a safety program. In addi-tion, we are also the disseminators of information. Your Executive Committee has realized the importance of at-tending, monitoring and helping the various regulatory organizations stem the possibility of a tide of misinfor-mation, and to bring practical knowledge to the table. I think we have learned a valuable lesson in these past two years and we will be vigilant.

I am very proud to be a marine chemist and chairman of an organization that is composed of such unique and dedicated individuals. I thank ya’ll for the opportunity to serve as your chairman, and all for your help.
Les Blaize, MCA Chairman

MCQB & RELATED NEWS – The first full year of the new millennium has proven to be very challenging for your executive committee, your NFPA 306 committee and for your qualification board. The previous year has brought many changes and introduced us to some new faces. Changes in NPFA 306 and subsequent acceptance by the NFPA general membership was a whirlwind ex-perience with more ups and downs than a five star roller coaster ride. The steadfast resolve of our current chair-man and 306 committee members to see the standard, as approved by committee, through the entire process has proven that the process is not flawed and should not be changed. I applaud the efforts and actions of Les, John, Dave, Tom, Frank, Ed and all the 306 committee mem-bers who worked so hard to deliver a standard that is safe and effective. The battle has been won, however the war may not be over. We need to continue the work of those who have so diligently labored on this document. The standard is going to be put on a fast track cycle for revisions, so please get involved and solicit input from your local shipyards, vessel owners/operators and labor organizations in preserving a document that is there to protect “life, limb and property”.