Upgraded training ship carries Aggies to sea

General RudderThe Texas A&M Maritime Academy’s TS General Rudder flagship training vessel recently departed for the first of two training cruises in the Gulf of Mexico. Part of summers-at-sea requirements, sailing on a training vessel prepares the academy’s cadets as merchant marine officers for a host of sea- and land-based careers.

This summer, the vessel will take up to 48 cadets and 14 crewmembers per cruise throughout the Gulf of Mexico, as part of cadets’ licensing requirements for mariner credentialing.  

Captain Scott Putty, master of the General Rudder and Captain Augusta Roth, are slated to sail the vessel to the Key West Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans and Lake Charles, La., as well as Port Isabel, and Beaumont, Texas. 

Putty said recent upgrades to the General Rudder should ensure a high level of safe operations necessary for a training ship. 

“On January 31, the vessel departed for Tampa, Fla., where she underwent normal dry dock surveys, repairs and upgrades,” he said. “She goes into dry dock every three years under the direct supervision of the U.S. Maritime Administration.”

For more than three months, five crewmembers and a complement of shipyard, U.S. Maritime Agency, U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping personnel were assigned to the ship as she was being worked on.

“Among upgrades, the vessel obtained additional mooring arrangements on deck, a new stern section and a larger wastewater treatment system,” Putty said. “She also received a new paint scheme of black, white and maroon that gives her an Aggie presence no matter where she sails.”

The cruise schedule is slated for the following dates and destinations:

Cruise Ports  Dates
Galveston, Texas  May 24-27
Key West, Fla. May 30 – June 2
Mobile, Ala. June 9 –11
New Orleans, La. June 16-19
Galveston, Texas June 23- 25   
Lake Charles, La.   July 3 – 6
Port Isabel, Texas   July 14 – 15
Beaumont, Texas  July 18 – 20
Galveston, Texas  July 21 - 24  

The cruise schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances. To schedule a group tour of the ship, contact Tammy Lobaugh, TMA assistant superintendent for operations at lobaught@tamug.edu. For more information about the cruises, go to http://www.tamug.edu/corps/trainingship.html or contact Cathy Cashio-Bertrand, communications and media relations director at cashioc@tamug.edu