The Maritime Administration and Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc, yesterday signed an agreement that will provide training opportunities for American maritime academy cadets on board OSG’s international vessels. The public-private partnership is the first formal agreement to make available on-board training billets in the international fleet for U.S. maritime academy cadets.
Under the terms of the agreement, cadets from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
and all six state maritime academies will be able to obtain work experience and training on board OSG vessels. Under international and national requirements, maritime academy cadets must serve at sea, for an average of 300 days, in order to obtain enough shipboard training for a merchant marine officer license. This agreement will allow American cadets to serve on OSG’s modern and diverse commercial fleet of U.S. and foreign registered vessels in order to obtain necessary at sea training.
The signing ceremony was held at the Maine Maritime Academy, one of the state academies covered by the agreement, during the U.S. Maritime Academy Presidents’ annual meeting.
The agreement was signed by Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton and Captain Robert Johnston, Senior Vice President and Head of Shipping Operations at OSG. In attendance were the Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the Presidents of the State Maritime Academies of California, Great Lakes, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas.
“It is impossible for aspiring mariners to obtain a merchant marine officer license without sufficient sea service,” said Connaughton. “This agreement will expand the opportunities for American cadets to train on one of the world’s largest and most modern commercial fleets. We applaud OSG for taking this initiative.”
“This agreement is important for OSG and the rest of the maritime industry,” said Johnston. “The health of the entire marine transportation industry depends on the availability of trained and skilled merchant mariners.”
Vice Admiral John Craine, President of State University of New York Maritime College and current chair of the state academy presidents’ council, noted that the U.S. state maritime academies are increasing enrollment to meet the growing demand for skilled mariners, and said, “We all need more ships available to carry cadets for training. OSG’s agreement is welcome news, and we look forward to more agreements like this.”