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Maine Maritime Academy training ship returns from 37-day voyage

The cruise didn’t happen last year due to the pandemic.
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT
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CASTINE, Maine (WABI) - Roughly 260 cadets, faculty, and staff rom Maine Maritime Academy returned to Castine aboard the State of Maine Friday.

The ship left April 19th for a 37 day voyage visiting Boston, New York, Norfolk, and the Bahamas.

“Its a lot of fun being out there, not only just being out on the water, but also just learning from trained professionals on how to do this job that I’ve dedicated so much time to, and I bet all the seniors and freshmen who are out there now are feeling the same way,” said rising senior Patrick Whittam.

Whittam says the hands-on experience they get on the ship is extremely important for their future careers.

But with the pandemic, things still looked a bit different than they typically would.

“In the past, you get a little break and get off the ship, but these guys haven’t been able to do that. For 20 years of his life, he’s listened to me and my friends from the Class of ’92 tell stories, and he goes Dad, this is different, and I said, I’m sorry, but I know he’s learning a lot,” said parent and alumnus Brian Gebo.

MMA President Bill Brennan says this year, they have to do three training cruises instead of one because of the pandemic, but it’s great to see a return to normal.

“For all of us, it’s great to have completed, and I say that because this last year obviously has been such a challenge. We were not able to do our sea semester last year, and that had a lot of implications for our cadets. It set them back,” said Brennan.

Brennan says many of the seniors will take their Coast Guard certification exams next week.

The cruise officially ends Sunday where parents like Brian Gebo can finally reunite with their kids.

“We’re here until Sunday where we can put our hands on him,” said Gebo.

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