SEARSPORT, Maine — The State of Maine cast off its lines and headed down Penobscot Bay on Monday morning, on its way once again for the annual training cruise.
The 500-foot Maine Maritime Academy training ship left Castine on May 6, but developed engine trouble and was forced to head back to Searsport where students and crew members made repairs. In addition to replacing the damaged section of the engine’s exhaust manifold, they also performed other maintenance work, which included sending the engine’s turbo charger to New Jersey for new blades.
The State of Maine is a federally owned vessel on loan to the academy. Although the students and crew maintain the vessel as part of the loan agreement, the cost of the replacement parts will be born by the U.S. Maritime Administration, which oversees MMA’s use of the vessel. College officials on land did not have an estimate yet on what those costs might be.
There may have been some port charges associated with the ship’s unplanned stop at Searsport, but MMA officials noted the ship also would have had port charges in Key West, Fla., a planned port of call that was canceled after the engine problems developed.
According to the Captain’s Log on the MMA Web site, the turbo charger was installed on Sunday and the crew conducted tests that afternoon overseen by representatives from the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.
With the tests completed, the ship cast off at 8 a.m. on Monday and headed down Penobscot Bay. The Web site reported that the ship was out of Penobscot Bay by 11:42 a.m. and headed south.
Capt. Larry Wade reported in the Captain’s Log that the ship will cross the Gulf Stream, which “should mean warm water and warm weather” by tomorrow afternoon.
The ship’s first scheduled stop will be Hampton Roads, Va., where it will take on fuel. The cruise this year will take the 55 staff and crew members and 205 students to ports in Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States before returning on June 27 to Castine.