Why would MARAD put KP midshipmen on ships that are not accountable to it?

As I’ve covered extensively in this blog, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is blocking USMMA midshipmen from their long-established, and essential, Sea Year training aboard commercial vessels. MARAD wants anyone who will listen to believe that training aboard operating commercial vessels is not a professional, productive, highly-valued, training experience (which it is, ask any midshipman).  Instead, MARAD wants you to believe that predators are lurking around every corner, on hundreds of ships with thousands of professional mariners—and MARAD’s new USMMA Sea Year policy is going to cause an industry-wide metamorphosis through the ridiculously ineffective and arbitrary mechanism of denying USMMA midshipmen training aboard commercial ships. MARAD will not allow USMMA midshipmen to be placed aboard these ships until the vessels’ owners have adopted MARAD’s now infamous SASH policies called “EMBARC”.  [If you are scratching your head about that logic, you are not alone.] 

But, MARAD allows the students from the six state maritime colleges (a total of roughly 700  students) to train on those very same ships. The result is that 250 USMMA midshipmen are relegated to vastly inferior training time—on inappropriate ships or on ships with little training value—while the state school students enjoy those training opportunities denied to Academy midshipmen. 

MARAD insists it has no authority to apply its EMBARC SASH protocol to the state maritime schools or restrict their students from training on commercial ships that have not adopted EMBARC.  Despite 

  1. a federal law giving the Secretary of Transportation discretion to not place State School students on commercial ships,  and
  2. the federal Title IX law requiring any federal agency providing funding or other support to a college to withhold that funding and support from schools that do not adequately address SASH,

MARAD continues to falsely insist that it does not have control over the decision of the state maritime schools to allow their students to train aboard the commercial ships now denied to Academy midshipmen. That speaks volumes about MARAD’s true agenda. [MARAD provides extensive support to the state maritime schools in the form of funding. It also provides the schools with their training ships, which are federally owned. So MARAD clearly can use Title IX to demand that the state schools march to its drum on SASH issues.]

Of course, don’t expect the state schools to correct MARAD.  Indeed, MARAD’s hands-off approach seems to have emboldened the state schools. As detailed in this gCaptain.com article,  SUNY (New York) Maritime is now thumbing its nose at Congress and refusing to release an unredacted version of a report describing SASH at SUNY Maritime, including on board its training ship.  Per the gCaptain article, at least one SASH incident includes the rape and assault of a student (now alumnus) at SUNY Maritime:

“The college is strange. Because you are required by the US Coast Guard (USCG) to wear a uniform and are subject to USCG rules when working aboard the school’s ship, cadets report incidents to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) uniformed officers, not the campus police like at other colleges,” said one NY Maritime alumnus who’s afraid that her rape and assault may be in the report. 

While it’s not clear that the rape and assault occurred on the training ship, the context of the above quotation (with its reference to “when working aboard the school’s ship”) suggests that the crime occurred aboard the training ship. Regardless, the redacted version of the withheld report makes it clear that other incidents of SASH have occurred aboard the training vessel.

Here’s a classic example of how MARAD’s shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach to the Sea Year pause cancellation plays out: 

To help mitigate the damage MARAD did by pausing cancelling USMMA Sea Year on commercial ships, MARAD wants to put (and has been putting) Academy midshipmen on state school training ships (which it tells us it has no control over) and upon which there are known SASH issues; while keeping midshipmen off of the commercial vessels that were already participating in the SCCT SASH prevention protocols that MARAD adopted in order to address SASH in 2017.


Not a single state school training ship meets the EMBARC criteria; but it’s okay to put USMMA midshipmen on those ships despite known SASH issues on them?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Make no mistake about it, MARAD is not acting in the best interests of USMMA midshipmen. Why is that?

1 Comment

  1. I find it shockingly ironic in that MarAd is the owner of the loaned state school training vessels, but does not require the school to comply with EMBARC as part of the vessel loan terms in a similar manner it is desiring of commercial vessels.

    Will EMBARC also be required on other government owned vessels (Ready Reserve, MSC, etc…)?

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