On Saturday, for the first time since 2005, the Sea Aggies of Texas A&M University at Galveston sailed out of the Port of Galveston on a ship they can call their own — for a summer at least.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(6) comments

Bailey Jones

"The ship will sail to Puerto Rico, through the Panama Canal and out to Hawaii, then to Seattle before finally being returned to California." - wow, what an adventure!

Miceal O'Laochdha

Seatime for our future US Flag ships’ officers is important, and a little more information in this story might have been valuable to the average reader-landlubber. It would have been informative to inquire how much money Texas A&M paid to charter California Maritime's school ship; in particular considering that the T/V Golden Bear, like the T/V General Rudder and all the other maritime academies’ school ships, are owned by the Maritime Administration. That is to say, they are owned by all US taxpayers. It also skips over the time period between the departure of the T/V Texas Clipper II (M/V Sirius) and the arrival of the T/V General Rudder. During that time, the Maritime Administration provided TAMUG with the SS Cape Gibson, a former commercial break bulk freighter which had been converted by MarAd and NavSea (also at taxpayer expense) to accommodate 77 berths. It would have been informative to inquire if cadet merchant mariners also sail on commercial ships (they do). They need seatime on working commercial ships to obtain practical experience before getting their 3rd Mate and 3rd Engineer licenses. All the state academies combine seatime on commercial ships with seatime on school ships to total their seatime requirements to sit for a license. Students attending the Federal Merchant Marine Academy (Kingspoint) and the Webb Institute sail on working commercial merchant ships exclusively.

Jonathan Frank

“Thank you” to the US Coast Guard, Pilots, Tugboat Captains, and everyone else who helped to get the Golden Bear out to sea. It is fantastic to witness the support from our maritime professionals as well as our local community standing behind our cadets.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Oh, and thank you to the Chief Engineer, Captain, Mates, and Engineers of the watch, who got her out to sea and sail her on the voyage too.

AJ LeBlanc

I moved onto the Texas Clipper in August of 1973. It was my home for the next 4 years. (These were the days before dormitories, student center, dining hall and just about everything else that now exists at TAMUG.) The summer cruise was the high point of the year, but it was no picnic. The engine room on the Clipper was “old school” which made it perfect as a training ship. It took the combined effort of the entire corps of cadets and Officers to get the vessel in good order and keep it that way - but by the end of the cruise the Clipper was indeed in good order. Some days could be an “intense learning experience” - but that was the whole point. The Clipper, and the Galveston campus, has graduated hundreds of competent and enthusiastic maritime officers since 1968. The Clipper performed its job as a training ship as gracefully as it did as a passenger liner and even a troop transport ship. There was a sign over the turbines in the engine room that (exactly) stated “This is a training ship. Perfiction comes after graduation.” I would very much like to see that sign hanging again in another engine room. AJ LeBlanc. MARE ‘77

Bob Mitchell

I was fortunate to be among those media people and dignitaries invited to sail on the final leg of the old Texas Clipper's last voyage. We were bused to Port Arthur to board the ship for its return to Galveston, and I was able to broadcast live reports back to our KGBC listeners along the way. While we guests enjoyed a lovely pleasure cruise, the cadets who made up that crew were at work keeping the old girl going. I'm sure many of those crew members are now busily plying their trade upon the oceans and waterways of the world. The importance of a training ship to a maritime academy was quite evident to anyone who made the trip, and here's hoping TAMUG will soon once again have a training ship of their very own.

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