SUNY Maritime Sails to the Rescue

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Sailing along the Atlantic coastline from New York , the Empire State rounded Florida , dodged Hurricane Ophelia and cut a path along the same waters that Hurricane Katrina had sliced in its rampant urgency. On board were faculty and staff from SUNY Maritime College , which operates the 565-foot training ship. The Empire State is owned by the federal government, which activated the vessel after Hurricane Katrina. The ship's operators are trading their normal lives to provide disaster relief, leaving their own homes to provide one for the homeless. The Empire State is now serving as a floating hotel for uprooted oil rig workers who are working 24 hours a day to repair a New Orleans oil refinery. "We're all operating at a high level of intensity," said Tom Spina, a SUNY Maritime security officer and purser, from on board. "We're the central hub of what's happening." Calling it "unfathomable," he described entire communities wiped out and barges and buoys tossed hundreds of feet inland. "It's remarkabale devastation and destruction," Spina said. Led by Captain Rick Smith, the crew of Maritime faculty and staff aboard the Empire State includes Matt Mahanna, chief mate; Ann Barry, second mate; William McCaney, first assistant; Matthew O'Donnell, chief engineer; and Andrew McCarthy, also a security officer and purser. All are members of United University Professions, New York State United Teachers' higher education affiliate representing academic and professional faculty at the State University of New York. Most are also graduates of SUNY Maritime, a four-year college with majors in engineering, business and environmental science. To get the nearly 1,000 workers on and off the ship each day, security is paramount. A guardhouse is located 50 feet from the vessel, Spina said, and workers are checked again on board, where they get their IDs. "Accountability aboard the vessel is vital," Spina said. Each new group has to learn the techniques of sleeping in small metal rooms like rabbit warrens, and of maneuvering around a ship with low ceilings and numerous passageways. "Most of these people don't even have houses anymore," Spina said. "We have to make sure they're fed and keep morale high." The ship has foosball tables, a weight room, cardio workouts, movies and games. While the oil workers de-stress, the crew still hums. Garbage must be disposed of; food and water must be taken aboard daily, and maintenance and repair are constant. "We have to keep the ship running while we house all these guys," said McCarthy, who will leave his infant son, Jack, and his wife for relief duty in the Gulf Coast in November. The ship can house about 764 people. In summer, the Empire State sails to five different ports in the Mediterranean, Europe and the Caribbean , giving SUNY Maritime students hands-on-deck experience to supplement the academic training they receive during the school year.
Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

LA, Long Beach Ports Cooperation Approved

Federal regulators approve expanded working pact for Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles to cooperate on congestion relief   The ports of Long Beach and

Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid Tug Delivered to Multraship

Multraship took delivery of a Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid tug vessel, built at Damen Shipyards Galaţi, in Romania. The delivery is part of Multraship’s fleet expansion program,

Van der Vlist Expands Zeebrugge Facilities

Van der Vlist Zeebrugge has expanded the capacity of the Zeebrugge site. The indoor and outdoor storage facilities now occupy a surface of 50,000 m². A new 950

Education/Training

US, Chinese Navies Conduct Joint Exercise

A U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and a Chinese Navy frigate conducted a joint training exercise in the South China Sea.   The U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS

USCG Foundation Announces Scholarships

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Offshore Safety Training from Seagull

Saegull Maritime has announced the launch of two new computer-based training (CBT) modules, focusing on deck safety for specific types of offshore vessels that

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1653 sec (6 req/sec)