USMMA Lifts Sea Year Stand Down for Federal Vessels
On Friday, the United States Merchant Marine Academy announced that it would partially lift last month’s suspension of its core Sea Year training program for undergraduate midshipmen, allowing those students assigned to federal assets – notably Military Sealift Command vessels – to sail out once again.
Midshipmen who had been recalled from MSC vessels due to the “stand down” will be permitted to remain at sea.
In June, MARAD, the Department of Transportation and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) suspended the academy’s Sea Year training program on concerns related to improper behavior aboard ship. As part of the stand down, a subset of the midshipmen under way on their assigned vessels were recalled, and the Class of 2019-B has been kept ashore pending the completion of MARAD’s program review.
The "stand down" still holds for midshipmen assigned to commercial vessels, the academy said.
"While there remains more to be done before Sea Year is reinstituted on commercial vessels, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and USMMA are in close collaboration with the industry to institute measures to ensure midshipmen can work and train in an environment that is both safe and respectful," USMMA said in its statement.
A group of participating commercial carriers has created a proposal for improving shipboard culture, and the agencies have appointed a team to review the plan. USMMA did not give a timeline for the completion of the review, but emphasized that Sea Year "will remain a core element of the Academy's academic program."