The choice by the Department of Transportation, which oversees the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), got here simply weeks earlier than college students have been set to embark on their “Sea Year” voyage, by which college students are sometimes despatched in pairs to work alongside older, predominantly male crew members.
In a letter to college students notifying them that this system has been quickly suspended, college and transportation officers mentioned the academy and the maritime trade have been confronting a “challenging time” and that the choice to halt this system was “one of the most difficult we have faced.”
Just days earlier, congressional lawmakers expressed concern that college students on the academy have been being put at risk whereas taking part within the Sea Year program.
Sea Year was designed to offer college students on the academy, positioned in Kings Point, New York, with invaluable expertise engaged on business vessels and is likely one of the college’s main attracts, with many hoping to go on to develop into engineers and leaders within the transport trade.
Officials advised college students on Tuesday that Sea Year wouldn’t resume till they have been in a position to put collectively an in depth plan with new security measures as requested by lawmakers. They mentioned crusing would not resume till December on the very earliest. The letter didn’t present particulars in regards to the adjustments however mentioned that some have been already within the works and being mentioned with each the college neighborhood and the maritime trade. Lawmakers had additionally referred to as for the resignation of USMMA’s superintendent Jack Buono, however no management adjustments have been introduced and Buono was one of many officers concerned with Tuesday’s motion.
This is the second time in 5 years that Sea Year has been halted amid issues about sexual assault and harassment.
While she mentioned she was too scared to report the crime on the time, she determined to share her expertise after studying that 9 different feminine college students presently enrolled on the academy mentioned they’d additionally been raped throughout their Sea Year.
As her story circulated among the many USMMA neighborhood and others within the maritime trade, Maersk suspended 5 crew members and each the corporate and the federal authorities have been investigating the reported rape.
She mentioned this system is an important a part of the college and that “if anything were accomplished by the first Sea Year suspension, it was only that the problems grew worse” — saying that broader trade adjustments are wanted to carry predators accountable and maintain them off ships.
“It was never my goal to see Sea Year suspended,” she wrote. “If every cadet is removed from the industry, then yes, cadets won’t be assaulted on ships. But other mariners will still be assaulted, recent graduates of the Academy will still be assaulted, and nothing will have changed.”
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