Aspiring merchant marine sailors from the Maine Maritime Academy set sail each year on the school's 500-foot training vessel to log ocean experience needed to qualify for their U.S. Coast Guard licenses. Traveling alongside the 200 mariners this January was a first-time delegation of 15 students from the Castine, Maine-based university's Loeb-Sullivan School of International Business and Logistics (IBL).
Although the business students will not need seagoing licenses to pursue their future careers, the two-week training cruise from Maine to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands was a chance to study logistics in the real world as they followed shipping containers on their journey from dock to ship to shore. Among other activities, the students spent time standing deck watches and working shifts in the bridge, the engine room, and the ship's engineer's library along with assisting with parts and supply inventory tasks.
The voluntary trip was "an opportunity for non-license students to learn what deck and engineering students go through" when they go to sea and a chance to learn about logistics on board, IBL Dean Donald Maier told the Ellsworth American.
The trip was also a first for Maier, who told the newspaper he had spent a career moving shipping containers around the world but had never had the opportunity to accompany one on its journey.