Reportedly there was a meeting yesterday at the Academy in which a statement was made that indicated that a company has already been chosen as the successful bidder for the RFQ. Submission of bids is open until tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., so if this is true, then the Inspector General is likely to take a very close look at this. UPDATE: I have now received a copy of an email that was sent out by the Class of 2019-A president that describes the meeting — and pretty much confirms what I was hearing as a rumor. I’ve redacted personal information from it, but it appears to have been sent out to the entire class of 2019 (and a member of that class got this to me through an intermediary).
Also, the reports I have received suggest that midshipmen are being primed as to how to respond to the interviews/surveys the successful “bidder” is to conduct. Specifically, midshipmen were encouraged (reportedly) to report everything good that they had to say about sea year. Sounds harmless, right? WRONG. Remember, the RFQ appears to be asking the contractor to propose alternatives to sea year. (See here.) And MARAD has an agenda to promote financing of ships for state maritime schools, and putting Kings Point cadets on this ships furthers that agenda. (See here.) So if the contractor is reporting that midshipmen are giving glowing reports about this year’s sea year (assignment to state ships, etc.) this will help promote MARAD’s agenda to the detriment of the fourth pillar of USMMA’s curriculum — sea year aboard commercial maritime vessels.
I’m looking to identify the DOT representatives and any other officials who were present. (Deputy Administrator Rodriguez was reportedly present.) Also, who were the midshipmen who were present? They will be important witnesses if there is an investigation by the Inspector General (or if another bidder challenges the contract award on the grounds that the bid was rigged to go to a specific company). So, if you know the names of anyone present please submit them to Andy Simpson 82 [at] Save Kings Point.com (no spaces) or submit them via the confidential tip page.
Just to further document the absolute failure of the leadership at DOT, MARAD and Kings Point to manage the “stand down” of sea year I wanted to share an update of how these institutions have dealt with the commercial maritime industry. The same industry that has been thrown under the bus as the root of all evil regarding the SASH issue. The company I have worked for over the last 25 years, Maersk Line, Limited has always taken any allegations of SASH very seriously and we have policies and procedures in place to address these issues. These policies have been effective. However, in the interest of getting cadets back on our large U.S. Flag fleet we worked with MARAD to submit/revise our procedures for review. All of the requested information was submitted but nothing is happening. DOT/MARAD/KP have moved the goalposts and changed the rules of the game after the fact by now wanting to hire a team of independent consultants for advice before anything further is done. As a graduate of KP and someone who has worked in the U.S. Flag fleet for over 34 years, and a father of two daughters who takes any allegation of sexual harassment very seriously it is heartbreaking to see what the institutions that are tasked with protecting the interests of the vital U.S. Flag maritime industry are doing. These views are my personal opinion and are not an official response by my employer.