Maine Maritime Academy’s (MMA) training ship, State of Maine, arrived earlier today in Palermo, Sicily, a port-of-call not originally on the itinerary of the college’s annual two-month training cruise. The rescheduled port visit was necessitated by the ship’s 3-day diversion to Siracusa, Sicily, due to an onboard medical emergency experienced by the ship’s master, Captain Laurence Wade. Wade was hospitalized for additional medical care at a local facility.
According to Captain Jeff Loustaunau, MMA’s commandant of midshipmen, the remainder of the itinerary of the training cruise remains unaffected by the substitution of the port of Palermo for a previously scheduled visit in Odessa, Ukraine. While at anchor in the port of Siracusa, shipboard officials determined that it would not be practical or possible to complete the transit to the port of Odessa given the need for ship staff to accompany Captain Wade. The ship remained at anchor until Tuesday evening, May 29, when the family of Captain Wade arrived and assumed direct oversight of his care. During this time, shipboard staff was able to rapidly secure alternate port-of-call arrangements at the nearby port of Palermo, Sicily, located on the west coast of the island. The ship will remain in Palermo until Sunday, June 3.
Loustaunau also added that Captain Wade’s emergent medical crisis was an unexpected personal health event that did not have implications for impacting the health of others aboard the vessel. This was confirmed by a preliminary and subsequent diagnosis by the ship’s onboard physician and Italian doctors.
The diversion did not impact the amount of required at-sea experience obtained by the students participating in the training cruise. The vessel remained on cruise status and daily duties and instruction continued as part of the unexpected delay. The ship is currently under the command of the former chief mate of the vessel, Captain Brendan McAvoy.
The Southern European port of Split, Croatia, located on the Adriatic Sea will be the final port of call in the Mediterranean Basin. The ship is expected to dock in Split on June 8. Following a trans-Atlantic crossing, the ship will call in the Canadian port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 24-27, and will make a brief stop in Rockland, Maine, for a family day sail on the return leg to Castine.