Ship part

Maine Maritime Academy training ship departs for first transatlantic cruise since COVID-19 pandemic

CASTINE, Maine (WABI) – Wednesday was a big day for students and staff aboard Maine State, the Maine Maritime Academy training ship. This is the first cruise across the Atlantic since the start of COVID-19.

“It will be a return to normal cruise, which is good for all students and staff, and a return to normal for the Maine Maritime,” said Commander Lonnie Christian.

It has been a few years since students and staff aboard the State of Maine have been able to see different parts of the world.

That all changed on Wednesday when 180 students boarded the training cruise, taking what they were learning in class and applying it at sea.

“I love being there,” said Junior, Sean Caulfield. “It’s also a very unique experience because you realize very quickly when you’re out there both something that big and something much smaller, like a sailboat, which I did, you can realizing very quickly that you have to rely on yourself, your skills and the skills of the people around you. It’s really huge.”

Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry Paul is also on board.

This is Paul’s first sea voyage with MMA since he was a student.

“They are so looking forward to finishing a long period of school in a long period of COVID, and now being able to get out on the high seas and see a bit of the world,” Paul explained.

There will be multiple ports of call, stops in the United States and Europe. One of the most popular places on their route – Iceland.

“None of us have really been to Europe in a while, so it will be fun,” said Junior, Amber Card. “Everyone is excited to come down and see things they couldn’t see. Even some teachers are excited. They have factories there that we don’t have here, so they’re happy to visit a few.

With this trip comes a lot of responsibility for the students and learning to take care of their shipmates.

“The deck students will operate the ship and the engineering students will learn how to use and operate the power plant, the ship’s engines and how to keep everything running smoothly,” Christian said. “The whole concept of a ship is what we teach here, and it’s a ship, just like Maine Maritime Academy is a ship,” Paul said.

The TSSOM will return to the port of Castine in June.

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