Halfway through its summer training cruise, the new SUNY Maritime training ship Empire State VII departed cut short plans for a UK port visit and is new en route to Portland, Maine, SUNY Maritime president John Okon said Friday.

The 524.3'x88'6" Empire State VII, delivered in summer 2023 by Philly Shipyard as the first of five new purpose-built, modern training vessels for U.S. state maritime academies, sailed from Port Canaveral, Fla., June 28 bound for Portsmouth in the UK.

“When the ship departed from Port Canaveral to Portsmouth, UK, last Saturday, all fuel oil purifiers and fuel systems were working normally, and the fuel system had full redundancy,” Okon wrote on a posting to Facebook.

“A discovery made yesterday during routine maintenance revealed this was no longer the case. The ship's team took 24 hours to troubleshoot and assess the best options to continue the training cruise,” wrote Okon. “At no time did the ship lose propulsion, and the redundant system works as designed.”

Okon said Empire State VII Capt. Morgan McManus consulted with the U.S. Maritime Administration and SUNY Maritime administrators. The decision came to cancel the port call “and return to the western Atlantic to allow Marad, the vessel construction manager, the shipyard, and the original equipment manufacturer, to provide better troubleshooting and maintenance repair support.”

The schedule change “eliminates the risk of not getting timely support for the ship to a foreign port, and also allows Marad the opportunity to continue troubleshooting the ongoing problem with IT networks,” said Okon.

The SUNY cadets’ summer sea term will next continue at Portland, Maine, from July 9-13, according to a later update from the college administration.


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