News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 16, 2019
New MMA training ship on the horizon

by Monique Labbe

Maine Maritime Academy is third on a list of maritime schools to receive new training ships built with federal funding, though the question remains when that new ship would dock in Castine.

The subject was discussed during a meeting of the academy’s Board of Trustees on May 3, after a story ran in the school’s Mariner Magazine.

President Bill Brennan explained that there are two schools ahead of Maine Maritime, whose training ships are “essentially falling apart” and will need replacing in the immediate future. Brennan said that there is currently funding in the United States Defense budget for two ships, with the goal to have the funding to build a third ship within the next few years.

One of the complications that could happen, with many of the maritime school’s ships in various stages of aging, is that schools may need to share ships for their training cruises, to comply with the United States Coast Guard requirements for hours on the water in order for students to get their licenses on time.

While the ships are designed specifically for training purposes, they are not used only for training. They are also used in the event of a natural disaster, like the T/S State of Maine at Maine Maritime was during Hurricane Katrina.

Brennan said that while he is confident the academy will receive a new ship, it will not be for another few years.

“I don’t think we can expect a brand new state-of-the-art ship to be sailing up the Penobscot and into Castine Harbor any time soon,” he said.