While most college students completed their spring semester and departed campus for summer jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities, nearly 250 cadets from the Maine Maritime Academy are utilizing the summer months to gain valuable experience out on the open seas. Launching from Castine, Maine, United States, these young men and women boarded the Training Vessel State of Maine and charted their course east for a cruise through western Europe, including stops in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
However, one of the most unique experiences of the trip was a cruise through the Kiel Canal in Germany, which links the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. After docking at the German Naval Yard in Kiel as guests of the German Navy, these young cadets spent time at the factory where the power behind their training ship, TV State of Maine was manufactured. This special tour brought together the proud legacies of two historic organizations: Maine Maritime Academy and Caterpillar Motoren, the manufacturer of MaK diesel engines.
On June 2 and 3, the cadets spent a day at the Kiel Engine Center, the main manufacturing facility for MaK diesel engines, which are installed in marine, petroleum, and power generation applications. Following an overview presentation regarding the Caterpillar Marine Power Systems organization and the current MaK product line, the visitors were led through the expansive factory to view the many phases of the manufacturing process, including research and development, machining, assembly, testing, painting, and shipment. The cadets were also able to speak with the facility employees regarding current manufacturing processes and learn more about the Cat Production System (CPS) framework which is increasing velocity and improving quality in the factory and office environments.
The tour concluded with a trip back to the TV State of Maine, where Caterpillar employees were able to climb aboard and learn more about the vessel and its power, provided by one 6 M 601 main engine and three 6 M 332 auxiliary engines. While the vessel is owned by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), she is well maintained by the Academy, and is kept at peak condition should the United States government require use of the ship in time of national disaster. In fact, the vessel was activated and deployed as recently as 2005 to aid in relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.
Logistics for the event were arranged by Caterpillar and Atlantic Hewitt Energy Group, the local MaK dealer for the northeast United States and eastern Canada. This event will continue to strengthen the relationship between the Academy and Caterpillar. To support the Academy’s history of superior maritime education, Caterpillar has also donated a C2.2 generator set to become part of a capstone project focused on cogeneration and clean energy, supporting the sustainable development focus from Caterpillar.