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Originally published in Castine Patriot, February 6, 2014
MMA receives $1 million from DOT sale of obsolete vessels

MMA to receive $1 million dollars from sale of obsolete naval vessels

Maine Maritime Academy will receive $1 million from the sale of obsolete naval maritime vessels, which will be used to support its maritime training programs, including the annual cruise on the T/S State of Maine, above.

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by Anne Berleant

Maine Maritime Academy will receive $1 million from the sale of obsolete U.S. maritime vessels, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced on January 29. The funds “will go back into supporting the elements of the training program, like the annual training cruise,” said Jennifer DeJoy, director of college relations.

Each training day aboard the T/S State of Maine costs about $27,000, including maintenance, fuel, port fees, staff and crew salaries, and student upkeep.

New requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers—better known as STCW—mean an additional eight days at-sea will be added to the annual training cruise starting this year.

In addition, “there are a number of aspects of just keeping the waterfront maintained, and sail training programs,” DeJoy said, “and other parts that aren’t necessarily the training cruise but support that whole part as well.”

The 2014 cruise itinerary is not finalized, “but we have a sense of what it looks like,” DeJoy said. “The cruise will go to Europe” and include a stop in Iceland. “Some of the details are still coming together.”

The National Maritime Heritage Act of 1994 requires that 25 percent of the profit from sales of obsolete vessels of the National Defense Reserve Fleet be distributed to maritime academies for facility and training ship maintenance, repair, and modernization, and for the purchase of simulators and fuel. A second 25 percent is provided to the National Park Service, which provides grants for maritime heritage activities through the National Maritime Heritage Grants Program; and 50 percent funds the acquisition, maintenance, and repair of vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In a press release issued by U.S. Representative Mike Michaud (D-Maine), he praised the announcement. “I’m pleased this funding is being made available to the Maine Maritime Academy,” he said. “The Academy produces some of the best mariners in the world, and it is conducting cutting-edge research that will benefit Maine’s economy as a whole. The funding announced today will help Maine Maritime Academy further its critical mission.”