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USSM Suspends Shipboard Training Program

by Aasgard Summit

The United States Merchant Marine Academy announced earlier this month that the academy is suspending training on working merchant vessels until “it is assured that [Midshipmen’s] training will be carried out in a safe environment.” The full statement follows:

While the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) have made consistent efforts to address sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus over the last few years, we’ve grappled with appropriate means of extending these efforts during “Sea Year” when the Midshipmen are off campus training on working U.S. merchant marine vessels.

The safety of these young women and men are our highest priority, and the USMMA is standing down having Midshipmen serve on these vessels until it is assured that their training will be carried out in a safe environment. On June 24, MARAD is convening a Call-to-Action with the maritime industry to address these issues, as well as their overall safety, as we begin to develop a comprehensive plan that protects the Midshipmen. We are making every effort to ensure an on-time graduation for any affected students.

The Maritime Administration – which oversees the USMMA – said that no specific incident prompted the suspension of Sea Year, but has not yet given a detailed explanation explaining the reason for the decision.

“There is no specific incident prompting this action . . . Sea Year is a unique situation for these young men and women, and we believe there continues to be a need to address the culture onboard vessels to better ensure Midshipmen are in an environment that is both safe and respectful.  This is not just about Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment, but an effort to ensure the Sea Year is an appropriate training and work environment for the Midshipmen,” said Kim Strong, a  MARAD spokeswoman. She added that graduation timelines will not be affected, and that Midshipmen currently at sea will disembark and return home when they reach their next port. 

Read the entire article at   http://maritime-executive.com/article/breaking-usmma-suspends-shipboard-training-program

The Maritime Executive Online, June 6, 2016

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