T/S State of Maine Arrives in Castine Following Winter Training Cruise
CASTINE, Maine — The Training Ship State of Maine (TSSOM) will arrive back in her homeport of Castine on Saturday, December 18th, following the third training cruise of the year.
State of Maine normally departs in late April – early May of each year for a 60 to 75-day training cruise. This year however, the college’s at-sea training has been modified to recover sea time lost in 2020 due the COVID-19 pandemic. Two 37-day cruises were previously completed over the course of the spring and summer.
“The pandemic has caused disruption at every level and we continue to experience the effects. As we continue to adapt, we have found opportunities to evolve and expand our programming to regain lost ground,” explains John Cashman, Commandant of Midshipmen. “This year’s unique three-cruise schedule allowed over 300 students complete cruise training programs and earn sea time as part of their license program. The perseverance of the students, crew, faculty and staff allows Maine Maritime Academy to continue to fulfill its mission.”
The ship returns to Castine with 217 Maine Maritime Midshipmen, faculty, staff, crew and midshipmen from the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point New York. For this cruise, State of Maine sailed for Charleston, South Carolina on November 16th. Following a 2-day port call in Charleston, the ship visited Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI, and Port Canaveral, Florida. Most of the underway time was spent training in the warm and relatively calm waters of the northern Caribbean before making the 4-day trip from Florida to Penobscot Bay.
Under the direction of Captain Gordon MacArthur, master of the vessel, the educational cruise included opportunities for students to put into practice what they have been learning about in the classroom. With the addition of 30 3rd class (sophomore) engineering cadets from Kings Point, MMA’s upper-class students got the opportunity to learn not only by doing, but by mentoring others. The professional crew of mates and engineers set a high bar and the students were able to gain valuable experience and knowledge which will serve them well in their careers.
The student compliment aboard the vessel also includes 17 “December graduates” who will complete their program requirements at the conclusion of this training.
“These 17 people boarded the ship as students but disembark as fellow alumni. I am incredibly proud of the work they have done and what they have managed to accomplish over the last several years. I wish them the very best in the future and hope to see them back aboard as licensed officers and mentors on future cruises,” said Capt. MacArthur
The 500-foot, 16,000-ton Training Ship State of Maine, was originally commissioned as the USNS Tanner and served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel before being converted in 1997 to accommodate MMA’s training needs. The fourth vessel to bear the name State of Maine, the ship is a modern, technologically advanced training vessel.
Well-wishers are welcomed and encouraged to view the vessel’s arrival in person or via livestream at mainemaritime.edu/streaming. The ship is scheduled to return to Castine on December 18 and should be entering the harbor just before 10 a.m.; the livestream will begin at 9:30 a.m.