[B]MMA sea term cut short for Haiti relief
January 18, 2010
The federal government is commandeering the Massachusetts Maritime Academy training ship for relief efforts in Haiti, according to school officials.
The 599 cadets on the TS Kennedy – currently in the middle of a two-month training mission – will be rerouted to Florida where they will get off the ship and be flown back home, according to Adm. Richard Gurnon, president of the college. Seniors will stay on board, the boat will be stocked with emergency supplies and the boat will head to the harbor in Port-au-Prince to assist first responders.
“Faced with 50,000 dead, hundreds of thousands injured and millions without the basics of life, Sea Term 2010 is truly a minor issue,” Gurnon said in a press release. “Going to aid those who are helping the injured and saving lives is the least we can do.”
The ship is currently headed to Curacao, but is now being rerouted to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The request to use the vessel was made by the U.S. State Department and the Maritime Administration, Gurnon said in the press release.
The reshuffling of duties for training ships during a crisis is not uncommon. In 2005, training ships State of Maine, Empire State and Texas Clipper, were used as safe havens by first responders assisting those caught in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Gurnon said.
It is highly likely that all other maritime training ships will be directed to join Kennedy in the harbor in Port-au-Prince, Gurnon said.