SEARSPORT, Maine — Replacement manifold parts for the engine of the State of Maine arrived at the ship Monday, but it appears the Maine Maritime Academy training vessel will remain at Searsport for several more days.
Reporting in the captain’s log on the MMA Web site, Capt. Larry Wade said he expects to move the 500-foot vessel from the harbor to a berth at the Sprague Dock in Searsport on Wednesday. Although the ship is not traveling at this point, Wade said, the move will fit in with the normal training rotation planned for Key West, Fla., the ship’s original first port of call.
The State of Maine canceled the trip to Key West last week after a hole developed in the exhaust manifold of the ship’s engine. The ship then anchored off Searsport on Wednesday and has been there since.
“Moving to the bulk dock in a commercial facility will provide us with another training opportunity as that facility has a security plan which requires TWIC [Transportation Workers Identification Certification] cards for unescorted access to the ship and also visitors to the ship are restricted,” Wade wrote. “Those with business or technicians all have to be vetted and listed prior to being allowed through the facility gate.”
TWIC is a program of the Transportation Security Administration that works to ensure that unauthorized people do not gain unescorted access to secure facilities.
Wade said the upper-class students are learning TWIC rules in ongoing security training classes on board the State of Maine.
Manifold parts arrived from Germany in Castine on Monday and were taken across Penobscot Bay to the training vessel by an MMA crew on the college’s tug Pentagoet. The Pentagoet had been out to the vessel over the weekend to remove the engine’s turbo charger, which was sent to New Jersey for maintenance.
Over the weekend, students and crew conducted dye checks on the remaining manifold sections, checking for any other cracks. Wade reported that they found no more cracks in the system. The crews also have conducted some other engine maintenance projects while the engine is idle.
Once the vessel has berthed in Searsport, Wade said, the students will be given liberty and the opportunity to visit with friends and relatives. Those visitors, however, will not be able to come on board the vessel, Wade said.
Once the engine manifold is repaired, the ship will head south to Puerto Rico. The annual 60-day training cruise also is scheduled to take students and crew to ports in the U.S. and Canada.