KINGS POINT, N.Y., April, 24, 2013 - The United States Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) has reapproved the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) cadet deck and engine programs effective July 1, 2013 to July 31, 2018. The USCG stamp of approval affirms that the Academy’s mariner licensing programs meet all applicable requirements as they relate to the training, qualification, licensing, certification and fitness of seamen in the merchant marine and are in compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), as amended. This is a significant achievement for the USMMA whose mission is to educate and graduate licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who will serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war.
The daunting task began almost three years ago as follow-up to the Academy’s baseline review of its academic offerings. While the enormity of the task and its voluminous nature alone would pose its own challenges, they became even more formidable because of the continually evolving interpretations of the new international standards of mariner training, certification and watch-keeping. The Academy mariner educators participated in various conferences and meetings with the USCG and other subject matter experts to gain insight into how the new regulations (commonly referred to as the 2010 Manila Amendments) can be best integrated within an accredited four year baccalaureate degree program. They frequently sought guidance on how the (as yet unpublished) USCG regulations may affect USMMA’s previously approved programs. In essence, the USMMA faculty assisted in the development of a globally approved mariner licensing program without knowing the applicable final rules and regulations, and operating under frequently changing interpretations and guidelines. A testimony to the true value of this pioneering effort by Academy faculty is the request from other institutions to share USMMA’s interpretations with them.
Thanks to all of you for your hard work and leadership,” said Rear Admiral James Helis, Ph.D., superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. “I want to especially congratulate the Dean and our outstanding Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering Faculty. Their ability to adapt and rapidly change course when necessary is what made this approval possible and has ensured the Academy is ready for the class of 2017. “
“This was totally a team effort from all involved in teaching the STCW courses, the STCW coordinators and the licensing department heads. They did all the heavy-lifting, and my role was the easiest of the lot,” remarked Dr. Shashi Kumar, the Academic Dean.
USMMA is the first of the nation’s one federal and six state maritime academies to successfully submit and secure USCG approval of an instructional program specifically designed to satisfy the STCW competency requirements to be implemented for the incoming class in 2013 and henceforth.
Reported by Dr. Shashi N. Kumar, Ph.D., Master Mariner