Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 26, 2019
Funding approved for new MMA training ship
Acquisition still years away
by Monique Labbe
An advanced funding bill authored by U.S. Senator Susan Collins that included $300 million for the acquisition of a new training vessel at Maine Maritime Academy has been advanced by the Appropriations Committee, according to a September 19 press release.
The academy’s current training ship, the T/S State of Maine, is about 30 years old, and sails out annually for training cruises. Additionally, the ship provides daily training and studies for students while docked at the Maine Maritime Academy waterfront.
Funding at the federal level has already been set aside to provide training ships for other maritime academies whose ships are even older than the T/S State of Maine. Those schools will receive priority, and will have new training ships before a new one arrives in Castine Harbor. The oldest ship in the fleet is more than 55 years old, according to the press release.
A conversation regarding a new training ship for Maine Maritime Academy was held during a board of trustees meeting earlier this year, with the sentiment being that while exciting, it would still be several years before the academy would receive the new ship.
“I don’t think we’ll see a new ship coming down the Penobscot River any time soon,” said President Bill Brennan at the time.
That has not changed, according to Jennifer DeJoy, Director of College Relations.
“The new training ship would be due to arrive in about eight years or so,” she said.
In the meantime, Maine Maritime Academy students will continue to use the T/S State of Maine for all training and education programs. The ship will continue to sail out annually each May.