During SUNY Maritime’s winter term this past January, cadets completed the first training cruise onboard the new training ship Empire State – referred to as Empires State VII by cadets and alumni. This exciting three-week cruise was the maiden voyage for the ship.
Nearly 230 cadets and 100 crew, faculty and staff participated in the winter sea term, which commenced on January 5th with a five-day pre-cruise that enabled the cadets time to become familiar with the ship, complete onboarding requirements, and participate in drills.
The ship was originally scheduled for departure on January 9th, but because of concerns about the weather, the departure was delayed. TS Empire State VII departed on an overcast January 10th from Olivet pier en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico. During the transit, cadets followed the typical routine on previous ships rotating between watchstanding, class, and maintenance and repair days.
The ship arrived in San Juan on January 15th, where cadets enjoyed a few days of extended liberty due to a mechanical problem with one of the two propulsion drives as well as inclement weather in the Atlantic. Getting underway on Monday, January 22nd, the ship's return to Fort Schuyler was delayed until Saturday, January 27th, once again arriving on an overcast day to the cheers of families and friends.
Captain Morgan McManus reported that the cruise was a great success despite engineering challenges related to being the first of a class of new ships. "This winter term provided us with great opportunities. First, it provided a full shake-down to test all of the systems and equipment cruise before a longer summer sea term. Second, it allowed the crew and faculty to become familiar with the ship's operation. And finally, it provided the opportunity for faculty to adjust their curriculums and configure the shipboard labs.
The President of SUNY Maritime College, Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, Ph.D., embarked for the transit to San Juan and praised the crew, faculty, staff, and cadets for all their hard work preparing the ship Empire State for its maiden voyage and first training cruise since the ship's arrival in late September at Maritime College. "This cruise would not have happened without the hard work, dedication and perseverance of Captain McManus, the crew, faculty, staff, and cadets, and the support of the Maritime College Community. Every department had a role in the success of this first winter sea term."