The following is the text of a news release from the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College:
(THROGGS NECK, N.Y.) — To much fanfare and many happy tears, the cadets and crewmembers of SUNY Maritime College’s training ship Empire State VI disembarked Monday after a 90-day voyage around the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
The cadets’ family members and friends lined the side of campus with camp chairs, welcome-home banners, coolers and the occasional family dog. Under sunny skies, they waited as the 565-foot ship came through the East River with an escort from McAllister Towing and Transportation.
“It was definitely easier to have her away for the second time because we knew what to expect. And she had a better time because she was able to do more on the ship,” said Denise Avitto, mother of mechanical engineering student and second-class cadet Julianna Avitto. “We’re thrilled to have her home. Every day, we missed her more and more.”
Shortly after 11 a.m., 254 SUNY Maritime cadets and 30 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy disembarked on Olivet Pier to be met by a welcoming throng of people.
“The ship’s return is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, SUNY Maritime president. “Our cadets come off the ship standing a little taller, proud and confident because of their summer sea term experience. These voyages are critically important because they help to ensure that the nation continues to have a viable merchant marine.”
During the annual summer sea term, SUNY Maritime students who are pursuing a U.S. Coast Guard license go out on the training ship to get hands-on experience with shipboard operations and management. The voyages help them to gain the sea time required for Coast Guard licenses. The licenses prove cadets are qualified to operate a ship or other marine vessel safely and effectively.
Every year, the ship and its crew visit several different ports. This year, they traveled to Norfolk, Va.; Trieste, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain and Valletta, Malta. During the voyage, students also take classes in addition to their shipboard duties that include maintenance, navigation and watch standing.