Contingency plans created for GLMA cadet sea time due to repairs required on State of Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY — Thanks to a rapid, multi-agency response effort, Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadets are still expected to earn required sea time and remain on track to graduate despite an engine repair that has temporarily sidelined the training ship State of Michigan on what would have been its longest cruise season in several years.

The T/S State of Michigan departed Traverse City on May 18 for the first of four scheduled training cruises. On the evening of May 19, the vessel experienced mechanical problems while transiting the Detroit River. The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), owner of the vessel, has prioritized repairs to be completed at a Toledo, Ohio dock, and expects the ship to return to service by mid-July.

According to GLMA Superintendent Jerry Achenbach, due to the assistance of MARAD and the other state maritime academies, contingency plans were quickly developed for the cadets impacted. Cadets must earn the equivalent of 360 days sea time during the four-year program. The goal of NMC and GLMA is to ensure graduations are not delayed, and that every cadet has the ability to graduate per his/ her model schedule.

Plans for the 50 cadets aboard the vessel when it departed, as well as those scheduled for the second cruise, which was scheduled to begin on June 14, include earning required sea time through one of several options, including:

  • Aboard the T/S Kennedy, the training ship of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Aboard the T/S General Rudder, the training ship of Texas A&M Maritime Academy
  • Aboard a commercial vessel in Great Lakes service.
  • Aboard the State of Michigan in its third phase, scheduled to begin July 21 in Traverse City

Cadet transportation to and from another academy’s training ship will not be passed on to the cadets. This is thanks to the efforts of the NMC Foundation ( and MARAD.

More than 150 GLMA cadets will need to earn sea time this year. There is high demand for GLMA graduates, as well as the graduates of NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute, who complete an internship on the ship.

The T/S State of Michigan is owned by MARAD, which will pay for repairs, and assigned to the Academy. Prior to its transfer to GLMA in 2002, it was the USNS Persistent, a T-AGOS class ocean surveillance ship operated by the U.S. Navy. It was built in 1986.


Release date: JUNE 7, 2021

For more information:

RADM Jerry Achenbach
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Superintendent
(231) 995-1203


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