Registration to the MCA spring sectional seminar in LA. closes on 3/14/23. 

No walkins will be permitted due to the hotel requesting final numbers at that time.

August 2020 Newsletter

The MCA considered several options for on-line training. The best option for members would be to put several one-hour presentations up on the website and allow members to view them at their leisure and get re-certification credit for watching them. However, once content is developed methods to ensure viewing and track attendance is something beyond the technical capabilities of the board. The board did reach out to our web developers who could do this, but at a cost. While this remains an option the preferred method is to resume in-person seminars.

In an effort to provide at least some training the MCA will test the use of a Zoom seminar. Currently, we are developing content and will present it on a Saturday in the fall. The target date is at the end of October to early November.

The MCA hopes that this will be a one-time session. We anticipate the training/Zoom meeting will last for four hours. More information will be sent soon. Here is what we anticipate.

  • Spring Atlantic Seminar and Excom in Charlotte 3/27-28/2021
  • Annual seminar and Excom in San Francisco 7/25-28/2021
  • Fall Gulf Sectional and Excom in Chicago 10/22-25/2021 (Date proposed but not confirmed by the hotel)
  • Annual seminar and Excom in San Antonio 7/2022

The MCA Executive Committee has met several times over the past few months via Zoom to discuss developments and our future plans. The committee met on the following dates.

March 28, 2020
April 25, 2020
June 17, 2020
August 12, 2020

The board has been in touch with NFPA and the MCQB as we realize that the lack of seminars has placed a burden on those needing them to maintain certification. In response the MCQB issued a letter on August 11, 2020 outlining several options for those affected. There are 17 chemists that were offered several options for re-certification. The letter and information is posted on the MCA website, and also on the NFPA website where your monthly certificate reporting is conducted.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6069″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]The MCA has also discussed on-line training options. Typically, members from the Excom put together content and present it at the seminars. Normally, this delivery method allows questions and interaction and in the opinion of the Excom is the most effective way to provide members with information and training.

The MCA considered several options for on-line training. The best option for members would be to put several one-hour presentations up on the website and allow members to view them at their leisure and get re-certification credit for watching them. However, once content is developed methods to ensure viewing and track attendance is something beyond the technical capabilities of the board. The board did reach out to our web developers who could do this, but at a cost. While this remains an option the preferred method is to resume in-person seminars.

In an effort to provide at least some training the MCA will test the use of a Zoom seminar. Currently, we are developing content and will present it on a Saturday in the fall. The target date is at the end of October to early November.

The MCA hopes that this will be a one-time session. We anticipate the training/Zoom meeting will last for four hours. More information will be sent soon. Here is what we anticipate.

  • You must join the meeting using a computer with audio
  • You must stay on the meeting the entire time to get credit
  • There will not be a fee to obtain credit for the meeting. (Those who have paid for postponed seminars will still have a credit for the next in-person seminar or you can request a refund)
  • Full attendance at the meeting will count as a sectional seminar
  • If you lose internet connectivity during the meeting you will not get credit
  • The meeting will be recorded and attendance taken
  • The meeting/seminar information to join will be posted on the MCA forum. If you have not yet joined the Forum, you must sign up to get the invite.

Please remember that this is an experiment and while the MCA expects it to work if we have some technical issues and cannot complete the training you will not obtain credit. This is one reason there is no charge to attend. At the next MCQB meeting our representatives will be asking the committee to allow credit for this training.

More information will come out as details firm up.

One of the topics to be covered during the Zoom seminar is how to treat pipelines. This is the result of several incidents during the past year.  Each incident involved pipelines that previously contained a flammable liquid and were certified for hot work. In each instance the pipeline was Safe for Hot Work, however, a complete inspection was not done and it was later that the pipelines still contained a flammable liquid and atmosphere.

The general cause of the incidents was the improper application of the requirements of NFPA 306.

MCA Executive Committee

Recent voting by the membership extended the terms of board membership due to Covid. The current Excom membership is as follows.

NFPA Report

Jill McGovern retired on June 30, 2020. Eliana Paniagua has joined NFPA as the new Project Administrator for the Marine Field Service.  She started August 3rd.  Ms. Paniagua is an experienced administrative professional. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History; Pre-law (May 2018).  Most recently she was the Executive Assistant to the CEO at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice in Boston, MA. Her contact information is available on the MCA Forum and the NFPA web-site.

Marine Chemist’s Certificates

Activity has dropped from 2019 and continued down during the first quarter of 2020. As of August 12, 2020, there are a dozen CMC’s who have not submitted reports for the previous Quarter. Five of these individuals are three months behind. Based on what has been submitted through June 2020, a total of 15,869 certificates have been issued. That projects to 31,738 for the year. This is a drop from the March 2020 projection (33,248) and lower than the 2019 number of Certificates posted which was 33,392, reasons for the decrease in activity are unknown.

NFPA Codes & Standards Update

NFPA 350, Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work – Completed the Second Draft meeting. The Committee is moving this document from a 3-year revision cycle to a 5-year revision cycle.

NFPA 301

Code for Safety to Life from Fire on Merchant Vessels – Closing date was 6/30/20. There are 29 Public Inputs. Some changes were submitted in response to the dive boat (passenger vessel) MV Conception fatal fire (34 deaths) in California on September 2, 2019. First Draft Meeting will take place before 12/08/20.

NFPA 312

Standard for Fire Protection of Vessels during Construction, Conversion, Repair and Lay-up, completed its revision cycle but the 2021 editions are not yet published. In addition to editorial changes in the 2021 edition, the Committee made numerous revisions to the requirements for the lay-up of vessels within Chapter 5 of the Standard. New requirements and guidance information pertaining to cleaning prior to lay-up; preparation of stern gland, oil-water separator, fuel and lubricating oil systems; readiness condition of fire protection systems and the availability of emergency towing, pumping and firefighting assistance for a vessel while it is in lay-up status were developed by the Committee. The Committee also updated the requirements and recommendations for watch service during the vessel lay-up period.

NFPA 306

Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels.  The closing date for public input (PI) is 06/01/21.  As of 8/12/20 there are 4 PIs submitted for this document.

As a result of several near misses your Executive Board noted that the 306 Standard can be difficult to interpret and apply uniformly. Different chemists may interpret the standard in multiple ways. The Executive Board established a committee to review the standard and develop suggestions to make it easier to use and clarify requirements. The MCA has requested that the 306 technical committee form a task group to get industry input on some of the MCA comments.

A new section on above-ground storage tank inspections in waterfront facilities has been submitted for consideration in 306.

Remember, this is your standard and if you have any comments now is the time to submit them.


On September 21, NFPA® will launch NFPA LiNK™, a digital reference tool that will change the way users of our codes and standards work.
NFPA LiNK is a tool that has been in development for the past 6 years. It is designed to keep up-to-date code-related information and tools that can help to resolve questions in real time.

It’s a resource that becomes a living library of your work that can be used on any type of device (phone, tablet, lap top – like the one EMCC users have). Allowing users to bookmark information, search by situation, add notes, share, and collaborate.

NFPA LiNK will roll-out with the NEC. It’s one of our most complicated documents in its presentation (it’s numbered and arranged differently than other NFPA documents) we needed to make sure we built a platform that could handle our most complex document.

There is more information about this on the NFPA website.


The MCA submitted its annual budget request to the MGHCP in January and the budget was approved. However, due to the postponement of seminars it is expected that there will be a surplus which will be applied to next year’s request. Recently, the membership approved maintaining the annual dues as the same level as 2019. While the seminars were not held the Association still incurs expenses.

It is estimated that the MCA will spend approximately $100,000 to continue to function. Major expenses include salaries, scholarships, website support, insurance and seminar deposits (to maintain our future seminars). To a lesser extent costs include supplies, postage and telecommunications expenses.

The MCA maintains both Directors and Officers insurance along with liability insurance. Due to a past lawsuit brought against the MCA by a member it put the Association in a higher risk pool increasing our insurance costs by 10%. This increase will last a few years.  The suit was eventually dropped however, the cost of insurance is still affected.

Please remember that about 85% of the cost of running the Association is supported by surcharges and we could not function without this support.


OSHA’s MACOSH Committee (Marine Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health) is currently suspended. A bill was submitted during last year’s Congressional budget hearings which made MACOSH a mandatory committee. (It previously was a discretionary committee and funding was not guaranteed) As a result of this the committee has been suspended and is being re-chartered. Due to the pandemic and the general slowdown of OSHA, this is still a work in progress with no estimated time for re-charter. Amy Sly Liu represents the MCA, Larry Russell is on the committee representing NFPA. Amy heads up the shipyard group and Larry has been assigned to that committee. Don Raffo is the overall chair of the shipyard and longshoring groups.

Certificate Reporting

Larry Russell reported that a 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.

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.


The MCA recently issued a reprimand to a chemist as a result of an ethics complaint.


The MCA website ( ) has been updated. 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 should contact the administrator at

The MCA forum is up and running and can be accessed and viewed only by MCA chemist members. You are welcome to post any discussions here relating to our profession. If you have a cell number you will get a text when someone has posted to the site. Feel free to use it.  Please consider joining this Forum as it is where the most recent news and event information is posted. If you have any problems joining contact the support email listed above.


Congratulations to the following recipients of the Edward Willwerth Marine Chemist Memorial Scholarship.

Mae Babin, daughter of Jason Babin 684 (Lamar and Joe Labauve)

Leia Collado, daughter of Blair Duff 698

Angeline Dovinh, daughter of Philip Dovinh 667

Luke Hebert, son of Troy Hebert 683

Grant Jenny, son of Geoff Jenny 685

Sarah Klein, granddaughter of David Capen 632

Mallory Taylor, daughter of Jason Taylor 714

The MCA wishes all the students the best in their studies.

Thorough a grant from the MGHCP the MCA distributes $15,000 to eligible students who are related to Marine Chemists.

Scholarship Committee Members


Many of you have paid for 2020 seminars which were postponed. You will get credit toward the 2021 seminar payment or you may contact Donald Raffo for a refund.

The Schedule for Seminars

Future Meeting Locations


2021 San Francisco. Hilton/Parc 55 July 19-21, 2021.

  • Our 2021 annual seminar will be held in San Francisco. We have booked two hotels directly across the street from one other. Most of the seminars will be held at the Parc 55. 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 hotel (same rates). They are both Hilton properties. More information will follow as we get closer.
  • Annual seminar 2022. San Antonio, TX. July 19-21/2022

Sectional Seminars

Atlantic – Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel, 3315 Scott Futrell Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28208, (704) 392-1200, March 27, 2021. Registration and information will be available on the website after the first of the year.  There is a cut- off date of 02/25/2021.  Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-325-3535 and asking for the Marine Chemist Association group rate or through the web link

Gulf – Chicago, Chicago O’Hare Hilton. October 23, 2021 is the expected date, however due to the hotel being in partial shutdown they have not confirmed the exact weekend for next year. When information becomes available it will be updated.


The MCA has developed a trifold pamphlet which can be given out at different events. The pamphlet promotes the MCA and the use of chemists. If you wish to have some please send a request to Don Raffo. I have sent some out to chemists who instruct competent person classes  which are given out at the end of the class.

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.

Facebook Page

For those of you who are on Facebook, visit Friends of Marine Chemist Association. It is a closed group and only chemists, spouses and friends may view and post on the page. If you’d like to see the page, send a friend request to the group. 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.

General News

This has been a challenging year for everyone, including the MCA. The Association is in uncharted waters and has been trying to navigate them. When we emerge from the pandemic no one knows what the landscape will be or how it will affect the Association. One of the main functions of the MCA is to provide continuous education to its members. Your board believes that due to the unique nature of our profession, in-person seminars which allow discussion and networking remain the best method of sharing information and educating chemists as we write certificates in accordance with NFPA 306. We are holding the experimental Zoom seminar in the hope that it is a one-time occurance. It will require members in different time zones to connect at one set time. It will not be in one time zone like in-person seminars.

Some of the challenges the MCA has looked at in holding on-line learning sessions are;

  • Training needs to be at least 4 hours long to get credit. This is based on discussions with the MCQB.
  • Consideration to allow attendees to view the presentation at their leisure since we are on different time zones was discussed.
  • What is the best-format? Would it be best to split it into two sessions of two hours each or four one-hour sessions or stay with a four-hour session?
  • Could a member start training, stop it and resume it and get credit? This would require special programing.
  • The MCA is a small organization with limited resources. We do not have a staff develop and post training content. We will need to rely on multiple presenters and a significant time commitment. Would a member be willing to spend several hours developing a training presentation, work with a web person to get it posted on the site?
  • What format is best? A Power Point or Video presentation?
  • For video, the presenter would have to record themselves doing a presentation. (Not sure what equipment or training would be needed) The MCA would have to consider quizzes for video to ensure compliance.
  • Power Points will also require quizzes or some means to assure attendance/attention.
  • Need a method to track attendance. (This can be automated, but will require outside help)
  • Need to develop new topics on a regular basis.

In the end the Association decided that taking on the challenge of training as listed above was not feasible. However, the Excom agreed that some information needed to be disseminated to members in a timely manner and the easiest way was via a Zoom meeting. We all look forward  to an end to this isolation and hope in the near future we can all safely meet. The Association wishes its members the best as we move forward towards whatever our new normal will be.

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.