May 21, 2018
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Resumption of MMA cruise likely Sunday

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

SEARSPORT, Maine — Students and crews continued to work on repairing the engine on the Maine Maritime Academy training ship on Thursday and could have the vessel ready to leave port by Sunday.

According to Capt. Larry Wade, writing in the captain’s log on the MMA Web site, the 500-foot State of Maine hoisted anchor on Wednesday and, with assistance from two tugs, moved to a berth at the Sprague Dock in Searsport. Being docked has allowed the students to have liberty at the port and allowed the ship to take on water and fresh fruits and vegetables and to remove trash.

The ship left Castine on May 6, but developed trouble in the exhaust manifold on the engine and was forced to head back up Penobscot Bay to Searsport. Students dismantled the engine and performed routine repairs and maintenance while they waited for replacement parts to arrive from Germany.

According to Wade, they have been working to install the new parts, which arrived Tuesday. The new T-piece for the manifold is too short, he said, so the chief engineer has had to machine a “dutchman,” a flat-surfaced piece that can be bolted into the line to fill the gap.

While the engine was apart, the students and crew removed the turbocharger, which was sent to New Jersey for repairs. It will receive a complete new set of blades and should be back to the ship by Friday.

If they can install the turbocharger on Saturday morning, Wade said they would have a test run Saturday afternoon.

“Hopefully, this will allow sailing on Sunday morning,” he said.

The annual, two-month training cruise will take the ship to ports in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Because of the delays caused by the engine problems, the ship canceled a stop at its first scheduled port in Key West, Fla. Once it departs from Searsport, the ship will head directly to Ponce, Puerto Rico where its sister school, Catholic University, has scheduled a reception.

Although the ship has been in port, MMA officials said that the time in port still would count toward “at-sea” time to allow students to meet the U.S. Coast Guard license requirements.

The ship is scheduled to return to Castine on June 27.

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