Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton and Gunther Keitel, Executive Vice President of Great American Lines, Inc., signed an agreement for cadets from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and state maritime academies to take their training voyages on Great American Lines ships.
Maritime cadets must have sailing time on working vessels in order to qualify as licensed mariners. There is currently a worldwide shortage of licensed mariners, and maritime academies have geared up to train more students.
The agreement was signed on graduation day at Kings Point. Keitel and Connaughton are both graduates of the academy, and Connaughton pointed out how different the employment situation is for today’s graduates than it was for him and his classmates. “Sixty-five percent of today’s graduates already have jobs sailing in the maritime industry,” he said. “When my class graduated there were almost no jobs for us in the industry.”
Great American Lines, Inc., specializes in carrying motor vehicles and refrigerated produce in international trade. This agreement is the fourth such training agreement to be signed in the past year. Previous agreements were with APL Liner Ltd., which provides regular service among specified ports, and Overseas Shipholding Group and SeaRiver, which operate tankers.