I am pleased to report that today MARAD Administrator Mark H. Buzby signed revised sea year SASH standards (the “SCCT standards”) that a shipping company must meet before it can accept Academy midshipmen for sea year). With almost a year of experience with the original standards, MARAD has been able to tweak the standards in ways that should make it easier for shipping companies to demonstrate that they can host midshipmen for sea year without reducing the safety of the midshipmen. The major criteria in the standareds have been reduced from seven to four, and this should lift the administrative burden on shipping companies significantly. You can see the new standards here. Bravo Zulu to RADM Buzby, Dr. Shahsi Kumar, and the others on his team at MARAD who have been working to bring this about.
RADM Buzby informed me this afternoon that MARAD has begun notifying the companies who have not yet returned to accepting midshipmen for sea year about the new standards. It is clear that he continues to take a personal interest in improving the quality of sea year; and, he he indicated that there are specific steps he and Dr. Kumar are each personally taking in the coming week to try to encourage additional companies to begin qualifying under the revised SCCT standards.
In another positive development, in response to my ongoing quest to get more detailed information about the status of sea year RADM Buzby advised me earlier this week that “we’ve stopped using the RRF – except for some [RRF ships] activated for missions – which was a practice used prior to the stand down too. MSC ships are back to pre- stand down levels too.” So no more sea year on ships welded to the dock.
In all of my recent communications with RADM Buzby, as far back as Homecoming and as late as today, he has been focused on expanding opportunities for midshipmen to spend a part of their sea year on tankers. The lack of tankers for sea year remains a huge deficit in the restoration of sea year. That deficit was caused by the ill-advised sea year
stand down cancellation and midshipmen continue to suffer from it. It is good to know that he is continuing the full court press to try to address that issue.