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Information on Sea Year Stand Down

Sea Year training on board commercial ships will resume in March. Three companies have met the Maritime Administration’s criteria to train USMMA Midshipmen on their vessels. The companies are Crowley, Maersk and APL. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is also reviewing the packages of five other companies which have applied to meet the Sea Year requirements. MARAD anticipates completing that process in March.  MARAD’s “Sea Year Eligibility” requirements include, but are not limited to, zero tolerance for Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment (SASH), vetted mentors, regular crew training, and no fraternization between crew and Midshipmen.  These requirements will be reviewed after six months, and annually thereafter.  Additional information can be found here: 

United States Merchant Marine Academy Announces Resumption of Commercial Sea Year Implements Strict Zero-Tolerance Policies

Summary of Sea Year Criteria

Frequently asked Questions:

Q: What provisions are currently in place for Midshipmen’s safety at sea?  What is the process, and how is it reported?

Sexual harassment and assault will not be tolerated and are specifically addressed in the preparation and guidance for Sea Year.  USMMA has established a 24/7 hotline for midshipman to call. Otherwise Midshipmen can are encouraged to report all incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault to the Master and/or designated person ashore, and Academy Training Representative (ATR) or Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at the earliest opportunity. All reports are fully investigated by the company and the USMMA; the company will follow its own disciplinary procedures for crew members. 

Q: How are these new provisions different?  How will they enhance safety?

We have formalized the mentorship program including enhanced selection criteria, that each shipping company is to issue an annual company-wide message stating that Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment is unacceptable, and committing the company to working to eradicate it.  Companies will now provide annual Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment prevention training to all crewmembers and verify that they understand the issue, their responsibilities, the penalties for not reporting an incident, and the company’s disciplinary procedures. In addition to the currently required report from Midshipmen and evaluation of the Midshipmen by the Vessel Master, each company is also required to provide the USMMA a debrief at the completion of the Midshipmen’s Sea Year time onboard a company vessel.  The debrief provides the company an opportunity to specifically address SASH issues and note any concern or need for improvements. 

Q. What are we doing going forward?

We have received eight company applications to carry Sea Year Midshipmen to date, three of which have been approved and five of which are currently pending.  If approved, these eight companies will represent 75 percent of the Academy’s pre-stand down commercial Sea Year program capacity. Several other companies have indicated that they intend to apply once the initial companies are approved.

Q: Has the suspension of Sea Year on commercial vessels delayed graduation for any students?

We do not anticipate any delayed graduations as a result of the temporary suspension of Sea Year.

Q: Who developed the criteria?

The criteria was developed by the Shipboard Climate Compliance Team (SCCT) with assistance from a sexual assault sexual harassment subject matter expert, industry and labor.

Q: Who is reviewing commercial carriers to determine if they are eligible for Sea Year?  How does the process work?

A Shipboard Climate Compliance Team (SCCT) has been established and is led by a MARAD Associate Administrator, Owen Doherty (KP ‘81). The team is made up of 16 subject matter that includes 10 licensed mariners, four of whom are female, SASH and civil rights experts.  The SCCT will review documents provided by carriers to ensure compliance with the criteria.  Once that process is complete, the USMMA Superintendent may issue an eligibility letter. 

Q: When is the next Sea Year period?  How soon will the cadets be assigned to commercial vessels?

Sea Year starts on March 3, 2016 for the 2019 B-Splits.  Combined, Crowley, APL, and Maersk represent over 50 percent of the Academy’s pre-stand down commercial Sea Year program capacity, and will provide the capacity needed for the Academy Training Representatives to start assigning Midshipmen to commercial vessels. 

Q: Does this affect midshipmen serving internships?

A: Internships are not affected.

Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017
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