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

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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CASTINE, Maine (WABI) - Wednesday was a big day for students and staff aboard the State of Maine, the training ship for Maine Maritime Academy. This is the first cruise going across the Atlantic since the onset of COVID-19.

“This will be a more back to normal cruise, which is good for all the students and staff, and get a back to normalcy for Maine Maritime,” said Commander Lonnie Christian.

It’s 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 Wednesday when 180 students boarded the training cruise, taking what they learn in the classroom and applying it at sea.

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

Also on board is Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry Paul.

This is Paul’s first marine trip with MMA since his time as a student.

“They’re just so looking forward to closing out a long period of school in a long period of COVID, and now being able to get out on the open sea and see a little bit of the world,” explained Paul.

There will be multiple Ports of Call, stops in the U.S. and in Europe. One of the most popular places on their itinerary - Iceland.

“None of us have really gone to Europe in a while, so it’ll be fun,” said Junior, Amber Card. “Everyone is excited to get off and see things they haven’t been able to see. Even some of the professors are excited. They have some plants down there that we don’t have here, so they’re excited to tour some of those.”

With this voyage, comes a lot of responsibility for students and learning how to take care of their shipmates.

“The deck students are going to be driving the ship and the engineering students are going to be learning how to use and operate the power plant, the engines on the ship, and keep everything going in a fine direction,” Christian said. “The whole concept of one ship is what we teach here, and this is one ship, just like Maine Maritime Academy is one ship,” Paul said.

The TSSOM will return to port in Castine in June.

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