The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA):
(KINGS POINT, N.Y.) — Effective Friday, July 8, the United States Merchant Marine Academy will lift the Sea Year stand down on federal vessels. Upon review, we have determined that these vessels have appropriate procedures and training in place to provide a suitable learning atmosphere.
The USMMA will begin the process for placement of academy midshipmen on federal assets such as Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels, and T/V Kings Pointer and T/V Liberator. Midshipmen of the Class of 2019 are already scheduled to begin training on T/V Kings Pointer and T/V Liberator starting July 11. Midshipmen scheduled to be recalled from MSC vessels will remain at sea.
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. We have stood up a compliance team to review the plan that industry presented at the call-to-action meeting to address the working environment and climate onboard commercial vessels.
Sea Year is and will remain a core element of the academy’s academic program. The U.S. maritime industry is a key facet of our nation’s economic and national security. The hard-working U.S. merchant mariners remain key supporters of the Sea Year program, and are critical to our success. Sea Year provides a unique opportunity for the young men and women of the USMMA to serve and train with them, and we are taking action to improve the midshipmen experience.
We hope to fully resume Sea Year this summer, and are making every effort for an on-time graduation for any affected students. Ensuring that all midshipmen are trained in a safe and supportive environment is our top priority.
We will continue to communicate with our midshipmen and other stakeholders as we move ahead.