CASTINE — The Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine is scheduled to sail on its summer training cruise Thursday afternoon, May 10, carrying 246 students and some 50 faculty, ships crew and support staff on first leg of the ship’s annual training cruise.
This year’s itinerary includes scheduled visits to Cadiz, Spain; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Civitavecchia, Italy; and Alicante, Spain, before returning to Maine in July.
According to sea time and instruction required by the international Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention, the total cruise length is 70 days. Students pursuing an officer’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate or third assistant engineer are now required to train at sea for at least 300 days during their first three years at the academy. Freshmen and juniors sail aboard the State of Maine while sophomores are assigned to merchant ships worldwide.
The first phase of the cruise will carry 169 freshmen, 49 junior year student engineers and 28 junior year student deck officer candidates. On June 10, another cadre of 49 student engineers will join the ship in Lisbon and replace their classmates.
Engineering students are also participating in a five-day shoreside training session either before or after the training cruise.
In past years, MMA training cruises have taken students to Aruba, Bermuda, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Puerto Rico and Russia, as well as other European, Caribbean and U.S. destinations.
Under the command of Captain Leslie B. Eadie III, the educational cruise began in port last Sunday with pre-sailing preparation. Eadie, of Brewer, is a 1976 graduate of the academy. He assumed command of the State of Maine in 2011.
Well-wishers are welcome, and may view the ship’s departure and return from the MMA waterfront or via webstream at mainemaritime.edu/streaming. Friends, family, and fans are invited to follow the ship’s journey through the cruise blog at cruise.mainemaritime.edu.
The ship will host the traditional family day sail on the final leg of the voyage between Searsport and Castine on Saturday, July 14. For that section of the trip, second-class students (juniors) may invite their parents aboard. The daysail allows parents an opportunity to see the level of technical proficiency and leadership their daughters and sons have achieved. Training cruise activities will continue in port through Monday, July 16.
The 500-foot, 16,000-ton State of Maine, originally commissioned as the USNS Tanner, served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel before being converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. This is the fourth MMA training ship to bear the name State of Maine.