Advocate for a Texas A&M Maritime Academy Training Ship

As part of our mission to provide conscientious assistance to the maritime & marine student and to promote the interests and welfare of Texas A&M University at Galveston, the Sea Aggie Former Student Network (SAFSN) has taken a strong position of support for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy for obtaining a training ship that is best suitable for the purpose of the Academy.

Voyage Distance and Times for the Gulf of Mexico

In this case, obtaining an appropriate sized and outfitted training ship for the Academy, also serves the needs of the Gulf Coast communities to have a prepositioned emergency response ship within a relatively close proximity to the other major Gulf Coast ports. We are asking for your support to reach out to your US Representative and US Senators. Reaching out to politicians is not difficult, it is an easy thing to do. Below is a bullet point list of several different ways to reach out to your elected officials:

• Write a letter and place it in the US Mail (use our form letter)
• Write a letter and fax it to the official (use our form letter)
• Make a call to your official (phone numbers are available on Facebook)
• Send a message through their web site (We provide the link to their respective site in  our outreach document)
• Send twitter message (easy to do on twitter)

SAFSN has developed form letters that cover the key points of this issue, and an outreach document that has contact details for all federal elected congressmen of Gulf Coast States:

If you are a former student: SAFSN Former Student Letter
If you are a current student: SAFSN Current Student Letter
If you are the parent of a current student: SAFSN Parent Letter
If you are an interested business entity: SAFSN Enterprise Letter
Contact list for Senators and Representative of Gulf Coast States: Congressional Outreach Contact List

If you are not familiar with the NSMV Program, it is a training ship platform with the design already funded by the US Government. The program provides a standard design training and response ship to the Maritime Administration (MARAD). MARAD provides the ships to the State Maritime Academies in accordance with their mission.

On March 23, 2018 President Trump signed the 2018 omnibus spending bill, making it law. This appropriations law has $300,000 allocated for funding of the first of up to five (5) NSMV Training Ships. Funding for the design of this ship was approved by Congress and signed into law in 2017. Details of the NSMV design can be found at this link: NSMV Training Ship Design. The first ship to be built has been allocated to the State University of New York Maritime College whose training ship the Empire State VI, was built in 1962.

FY 19 Funding bills for State Maritime Academies

On May 23rd 2018, the House of Representative Appropriations Committee approved the 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill which included $300,000 for the second NSMV training ship. This appropriations proposal should find its way to the House floor for discussion and voting.

On June 7th 2018, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related (THUD) Appropriations Act. This proposal also has $300,000 for the second NSMV training ship. This should eventually make its way to the Senate floor for discussion and voting in its current form. If the second NSMV ships is funded, the US Maritime Administration is currently intending to allocate it to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

While we seemingly have congressional support to continue for the NSMV training ship program, we must be aware that the second ship is not currently planned to be allocated to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, and it is not planned to be prepositioned in the Gulf of Mexico to be available for emergency response. The Gulf Coast experiences more natural disasters from weather, than the East Coast and the West Coast combined. The US Gulf Coast has more waterborne import and export activity by value, than the West Coast or the East Coast. The Gulf of Coast has the majority of oil and chemical plants serving the needs of the country, than all other regions combined. The Gulf Coast should have the capability to provide timely response with national assets to serve and protect these valuable resources. Please find a link to a position papers on Texas A&M Maritime Academy Training Ship Requirements and on Gulf Coast emergency response:

Texas A&M Maritime Academy Training Ship Requirements and Gulf Coast Emergency Response Needs

Thank you for contacting your US Representative and your Senators and showing your support for Texas A&M and the Gulf Coast region. Please continue to send letters and make calls to support this effort.

To show appreciation for the school support by the Gulf Coast community and the Former Students, there will be receptions at each port of call; New Orleans, Corpus Christi, and Tampa.

Texas A&M Maritime Academy Port Call Receptions
New Orleans
Wednesday, June 20
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Port of New Orleans – Julia Street Cruise Terminal

Corpus Christi
Saturday, June 30
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Solomon P. Ortiz International Center

Tampa
Thursday, July 12
Time TBD.
Venue TBD

Please be sure to
RSVP
Include the number of your guests

Gig’em
Sea Aggie Former Student Network (SAFSN)

Texas A&M Maritime Academy and the Gulf Coast ask for your support

Howdy friends and supporters of Texas A&M,

Earlier this month, on Saturday morning May 12th, during the Spring Commencement for Texas A&M at Galveston, graduating cadets from Texas A&M Maritime Academy (TAMMA) were sworn in as Officers to the U.S. Merchant Marine by Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez.

While presenting these cadets for their achievements, Rear Admiral Michael Rodriguez was particularly on point as he discussed a recent movement by the school, politicians, school supporters and former students to begin working together for obtaining an appropriate training ship for the TAMMA. It has been twelve (12) years since the Academy has been able to carry out their annual training on one ship with all cadets sailing together as part of a coherent program. For the last twelve (12) years cadets from the school have been sent out across a myriad of vessels and programs with varying degree of structure and support for each cadet.

This summer TAMMA will have all cadets on one ship, with TAMMA faculty and staff learning under a common syllabus with familiar shipmates, professors and administration. Albeit the training ship will be the T.S. Kennedy from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. While having all of the cadets sail together for the first time in twelve years is a step in the right direction, having to charter another maritime academy’s training vessel to do so is simply inadequate for the needs of the Texas Merchant Marine Academy, Texas A&M, the State of Texas, as well as all other Gulf States who send their young sons and daughters to this academy to become merchant mariners.

On Wednesday May 9th, 2018 there was a meeting held by the Houston Pilots Association which allowed Colonel Mike Fossum and Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez the opportunity to review the current situation regarding TAMMA’s efforts to obtain a training ship of adequate size with appropriate berths and facilities for the current program as well as to allow for the anticipated growth of the school. The meeting was announced on Social Media through several outlets, including the Sea Aggie Former Student Network. There was more than one hundred persons in attendance which included current students, parents, former students, faculty and staff. Colonel Fossum gave a brief update of the status and the efforts he has made to get political support which included meeting with members of congress, state and local representatives. Following Colonel Fossum, Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez presented a call to action by all stakeholders and interested parties to reach out to their Representatives and Senators with letters and emails to show support for TAMUG and TAMMA in their efforts to bring an appropriate ship to Galveston.

The breadth of subjects relating to Marine Biology, Marine Sciences, Maritime, Ocean Engineering, Marine Engineering, and Coastal Studies that are researched and studied by Texas A&M University at Galveston is simply amazing. The school is the premier research and education center on the Gulf Coast for all things related to the coastline and the sea. If you are in any Gulf Coast industry that is maritime related, offshore oil and gas related, or marine fisheries related, you know an Aggie from TAMUG! The TAMUG former students are the backbone of these industries on the Gulf Coast.

If you are a resident of one of the five (5) Gulf Coast states, the SAFSN asks for your personal support in the effort to obtain an adequate training ship for Texas A&M Maritime Academy and a Gulf Coast emergency response vessel prepositioned in Galveston Texas where it can respond timely to our needs. Please write to your Representative, your Senators, and your governor. In this case, many discussions are occurring in committees and the hallways of Capital Hill, therefore time is of the essence and we ask that these letters be forwarded over the course of the next few days, or at your first opportunity. Local and regional politicians are also very valuable supporters and the most valuable thing you can do is impress your friends, colleagues and those in your personal network to consider supporting this with their letters of support as well.

Open the link to the Congressional Outreach Contact List to determine how to contact your Representative and your Senators.  The Sea Aggie Former Student Network is providing some links below to suggested form letters you may wish to utilize, or review for suggestions. We are hoping you will be able to find a fax machine, or to fax directly from your computer as this is the fastest way to get these letters into the hands of your Congressmen.

If you are a former student: SAFSN Former Student Letter 

If you are a current student:SAFSN Current Student Letter

If you are the parent of a current student: SAFSN Parent Letter

If you are an interested business entity: SAFSN Enterprise Letter

The mission of the Sea Aggie Former Student Network is to strengthen the unity of our Texas A&M University at Galveston graduates and students by promoting the involvement in industry professional events, networking and career enhancement opportunities. The network will serve as a conduit of industry perception and provide conscientious assistance to the maritime & marine student. We will always endeavor to nurture, support and integrate a versatile mix of professionals into the oceans of tomorrow.

Very Best Regards,

SAFSN

Your new SAFSN Board of Directors – 2018

The election results are in and the new Board of Directors has been established.

President – Mike Spiers
Secretary – Deana Atteberry
Treasurer – Amanda Ashcroft
Communications Officer – Kyle Durden
Membership Development Officer – Devin Paul
Industry Liaison Officer – Leonard Hale
Campus Liaison – Gussie Roth
Student Outreach and Networking Officer – Austin Ashcroft

Membership Dues and Donations

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES for the Sea Aggie Former Student Network is $25.  Membership dues allow SAFSN to host events and provide support to the Sea Aggie community. Official members will receive discounts on upcoming social and networking events.

Click HERE to pay your $25 annual membership dues.

 

DONATIONS

If you wish to donate to the Sea Aggie Former Student Network above the $25 annual membership, you can make your tax deductible donation here!

 

Thank you for your support!