MarAd, USMMA hold 'call to action' on Sea Year problems

The following is text from a news release issued by the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA):

(KINGS POINT, N.Y.) — The Maritime Administration (MarAd) and USMMA hosted more than 90 representatives of the maritime industry at a call-to-action meeting on June 24 to address concerns about the shipboard working and living environment that led to last week’s stand down of USMMA’s Sea Year training program. 

Held in Washington, D.C., at the Department of Transportation, the meeting was convened for the maritime industry to present a proposal that improves the quality of life on board vessels and provides a working and training environment that is both safe and respectful for the midshipmen. The discussions focused on industry culture, sexual assault and sexual harassment awareness and prevention efforts; industrywide best practices and reporting protocols and implementable actions, including how to proactively address the issues; training programs involving the companies and mariner unions; assignment of onboard mentors; debriefing of all midshipmen upon completion of their Sea Year training; vessel visits by company operations representatives, and a 24/7 hot line with duress code available to all midshipmen. 

While there remains more to be done before Sea Year is reinstituted, the maritime industry is working to address the working environment and climate onboard commercial vessels and MarAd is currently reviewing the proposal presented by the industry.

We hope to resume Sea Year this summer, and are making every effort to ensure an on-time graduation for any affected students. Sea Year was disrupted for some midshipmen during the 2013 government shutdown, and those affected were able to graduate.

By Professional Mariner Staff