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Maine Maritime Academy Training Ship State of Maine Makes Final Departure from Castine Harbor

Town joins Academy in formal sendoff; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to conduct research on transatlantic crossing.

CASTINE, Maine, Wednesday, May 8, 2024 —Today, Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), one of the United States’ foremost maritime universities offering degrees in engineering, science, management, and transportation began their annual training voyage on the training ship STATE OF MAINE. Students, officers, and crew departed Castine’s waterfront at 1130 for foreign and domestic ports of call. After calling Castine home for the past 27 years, this will mark the final departure for the current STATE OF MAINE from its home port. Under the direction of Captain Gordon ‘Mac’ MacArthur, Master of the vessel, the educational cruise commenced in port on Sunday, May 5 for pre-sailing preparation. The Town of Castine, students from Castine’s Adams Elementary School, family and friends joined for a brief ceremony on the dock to wish the ship and her crew farewell.

MMA President, Jerry Paul ’89, RADM USMS reflected on the importance of the Academy’s training voyages in his remarks to a gathered crowd, “Today, marks the final departure from the shores of Castine for our beloved USNS Tanner, or T/S STATE OF MAINE IV. An entire generation of MMA students have had the pleasure of training aboard this vessel. She safely stewarded more than a quarter of a century of young mariners to ports all over the world. The hands-on training offered by our faculty and staff through these voyages is second to none. I am proud of our students, their mentors, and experiences they will have only through an MMA education.”

The 2024 sea-term will be 74 days in length with an itinerary that includes ports of call in Port Everglades, FL; St. Thomas, USVI; Santa Cruise de Tenerife, Spain; Mallorca, Spain; Leixoes, Portugal; St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Portland, Maine.  202 students, 25 faculty and staff and 20 crew will take part in this voyage. MMA is pleased to be working with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) for deployment of six “Argo Floats” from the STATE OF MAINE during the two transatlantic crossings. These floats will gather and transmit hydrographic data back to scientists ashore.

The current MMA T/S STATE OF MAINE (aka USNS TANNER) will be returned to the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Division’s (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force when it is replaced by a National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV), in early 2025.  USNS TANNER was originally designed and built in 1990 as an oceanographic research vessel. Renamed STATE OF MAINE, the ship arrived in Castine in 1997 to serve as the Academy’s at-sea training platform. In this role, it has completed 30 training voyages.

Master of the T/S STATE OF MAINE, Capt. Mac MacArthur added, “Sea-term or “cruise” is the  first at-sea experience for our newest students and the final at sea-experience for our upper-class students. Freshman will put into practice the basic maritime skills that they learned in the classroom over the course of their first year.  Upper-class students will be the leaders on this voyage as they not only hone their craft as deck officers and engineers, but also grow as leaders.  This is the hands-on learning experience that our young women and men come here for. It is so rewarding to watch our students evolve during their more than two months at sea. On this ship is where they really refine their skills as mariners. Chief Engineer Aaron Coy, the other officers, our crew and I are honored to play a role in their growth and education.”

Castine’s Selectboard Chairman Gordon MacArthur spoke briefly about importance of the Town and Academy relationship. In a personal tie to the vessel and voyage, he wished his son Master of the T/S STATE OF MAINE, Captain Gordon ‘Mac’ MacArthur safe passage.  The vessel will return to Portland, ME on July 16, 2024 with the final day of this year’s sea-term on July 18th.

About Maine Maritime Academy

Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 22 programs of study in engineering, management, science, and transportation to promote the maritime interests of the United States. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented degree programs. The job placement rate for MMA graduates is approximately 90 percent within 90 days of graduation with very high paying jobs. The college is consistently recognized for providing a high-value education by organizations such as the Brookings Institution, U.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine. The 2022 Report by Georgetown University ranked MMA #1 among all public colleges for return on investment for low-income students at public bachelor’s degree institutions.

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