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Texas A&M Maritime Academy Sets Sail for Sea Training Day

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Published Jul 13, 2021 6:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Texas A&M University at Galveston]

Over 300 Texas A&M Maritime Academy cadets, faculty and staff will depart from the Galveston Campus aboard the TS Kennedy to begin a 56-day training cruise to earn required at-sea hours to receive their U.S. Coast Guard license. This training is critical in educating the future generation of merchant mariners who support both our national security through service in the armed forces and the maritime industry, a key contributor to the economic prosperity of Texas.

“Over 90 percent of everything you eat, wear or use travels to you through our nation’s ports and inland waterways,” said Superintendent Col. Michael E. Fossum. “Our nation’s workforce of skilled mariners is aging and retiring. Educating and training merchant mariners to continue to drive the blue economy here in the Gulf Coast region and around the globe is critical in meeting the needs of our citizens.”

The ship serves as a living laboratory where cadets earn hands-on experience in ship navigation and marine engineering systems, maintenance, safety and security in addition to attending classes onboard.

The 56-day training cruise includes port stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Galveston, TX, Boston, MA, anchoring in New York, NY before dropping the ship at its home, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, MA.

“Cruise is the ultimate culmination and continuation of our studies on land. It’s challenging, hard work; sometimes mistakes are made and lessons are learned. I’ve had long days, I have had tough days, but I’ve never had a bad day,” explained Summer Sea Term Corps of Cadets Cruise Commander Cole Masington ’21. “Aggies see the job through, and that goes for our instructors sailing with us, too. They don’t just talk the talk on land, they walk the walk on the ship. We are all one crew.”

Successful legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. secured the Texas A&M Maritime Academy the transfer of the TS Kennedy to the Galveston Campus in 2023 and a new, state-of-the-art National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) in 2025. These ships both have 12 times the capacity of the maritime academy’s current training ship, the TS General Rudder.

State maritime academy training ships are federally owned vessels operated by the six state maritime academies to serve cadet-training purposes. They are also valuable support vessels for disaster response efforts.

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy’s last large training ship, the TS Texas Clipper II, provided support for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 before the federal government recalled the ship for another mission.

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