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MMA training cruise to go to Malta, Italy, Ireland

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Midshipmen aboard Maine Maritime Academy's training ship, State of Maine, exchange waves with family and friends on land as the ship is pushed away from the dock on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 in Castine. This spring MMA’s annual two-month training voyage will take students to Malta, Italy and Ireland as well as ports in the U.S.


CASTINE, Maine — The State of Maine ship will visit Mediterranean ports as part of Maine Maritime Academy’s two-month training cruise, the college announced Tuesday.

Under the command of Captain Leslie B. Eadie, III, of Brewer, the training vessel will leave Castine Harbor on May 3. The cruise itinerary includes stops in Norfolk, Va., May 6- 9; Valetta, Malta, May 25- 28; Civitavecchia, Italy, May 31- June 3; Cobh, Ireland, June 12- June 15; and Portland, Maine, June 25-26. The ship will host a family day sail on the return leg from Portland to Castine.

Interim master Eadie, a 1976 graduate of the college, recently assumed command of the vessel, following the retirement of long-time permanent master of the ship, Captain Larry Wade of Bradley. Also a graduate of the college, Wade had served as the training ship’s top officer since 1996.

A seasoned professional mariner with more than 28 years at sea, Eadie has sailed in various capacities with Sun Oil Company, ARCO Marine, Inc., and Sabine Transportation Company. While with Sabine, he served as captain of the largest tanker to enter Anchorage, Alaska, and Massawa Inner Harbor, Eritrea.

Eadie joined the Maine Maritime Academy faculty nearly six years ago, teaching courses in terrestrial navigation, marine communications, advanced tanker operations, and casualty analysis. As a faculty member, he sailed aboard the T/S State of Maine in deck training and senior deck officer positions. Eadie holds a U.S. Guard license as an unlimited master, and is a 1st Class Pilot for the waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nautical science from Maritime Academy, and a master’s in business administration in 2004 from the University of Phoenix. Eadie and his wife of 35 years, Kathy, have three grown children and one grandson.

“Follow the Voyage,” MMA’s annual online ship tracking and training cruise activities website, will be coordinated by students and staff as part of this year’s training activities. In its tenth year of operation, the site covers the Academy’s annual training cruise from a variety of perspectives. In addition to an interactive tracking chart of the cruise, the site provides links devoted to teaching and educational materials for students of all ages. Once the ship is underway, the public is invited to join the voyage by visiting www.mainemaritime.edu and following the Cruise 2011 link.

Due to shipboard security, the vessel will not be open to the general public for tours while in foreign or domestic ports. Well-wishers are welcomed and encouraged to view the vessel departure and return from the Maine Maritime Academy waterfront, however shipboard visits are not permitted.

The training ship will return to Castine on Sunday, June 26.

Students pursuing an officer’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate or third assistant engineer are required to train at sea for at least 60 days in each of their first three years at the Academy.  Freshmen and juniors sail aboard the MMA vessel, while sophomores are assigned to merchant ships worldwide. In recent years, MMA training cruises have taken students to Aruba, Bermuda, Brazil, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland Italy, Poland, Russia, and Spain; as well as other European and Caribbean countries.

The 500-foot, 16,000-ton T/S State of Maine, the former USNS Tanner, originally served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel and was converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. The fourth vessel to bear the name State of Maine, the ship is a modern, technologically advanced training vessel.

Maine Maritime Academy, founded in 1941, enrolls more than 900 students from 35 states and several foreign countries. The college awards associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 15 fields of study.


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