After a decade, cadets set sail on training cruise, with a pit stop in Tampa

Image 1 of 3

Tampa has special guests this week with 300 cadets and 75 faculty and staff from the Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

The TS Kennedy -- a former commercial freighter and currently a training vessel of the United States Maritime Service -- has docked at the East Port Berth on Causeway Blvd. The vessel was activated by the U.S. Maritime Administration. It is temporarily chartered to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy for use as an at-sea traveling classroom.  

The university decided to make a stop in the Bay Area to recruit new students. On Thursday, several high school students will learn more about the academy.

“We are having students from high schools that have maritime classes to meet our cadets, learn what it’s like to go to a maritime academy and tour our ship,” said Bob Wright, director of communications. 

Since Florida does not have a maritime academy, Florida cadets will be back in their home state after almost two months at sea when they arrive in Tampa.  

“This is a momentous time in our academy’s history,” said chief operating officer Col. Michael E. Fossum. “For the first time in over a decade, our students and faculty will learn and train as a cohesive unit.”

The cadets will depart from Tampa on Friday and will end their journey in Massachusetts later this month.