Ahoy, Followers -
As we wrap up Sea Term 2020, I wanted to brag a little bit about the TS Kennedy.
As you’ve learned, the TS Kennedy is owned by the United States Marine Administration, known as MARAD and part of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF). That’s right, Massachusetts Maritime Academy doesn’t own the ship, although Taylor’s Point is considered her homeport. The RRF is a fleet of government-owned, militarily useful, merchant ships within the National Defense Reserve Fleet which can be operational within 5-10 days.
You are probably wondering if the TS Kennedy has ever been called into service by the RRF since coming to Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The answer is, “Yes!”
Many of you will remember hearing about Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Some of our Follow The Voyage – Share The Experience participants experienced it firsthand. It impacted twenty-four states in the continental United States. One of the hardest hit states was New York.
The TS Kennedy was ready to assist! The ship cruised to New York to serve as a “no frills hotel” for FEMA workers. The ship was docked off Staten Island, just a few miles from Zone A, an area that was destroyed by the storm. The ship provided the rescue workers with hot showers, light, safety, good food, and clean beds. The people of New York was very appreciative.
At a reception held in New York City the following year, Captain Tom Bushy, Master of the TS Kennedy and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Vice President Of Marine Operations, accepted the Admiral of the Ocean Seas Mariners Plaque for the TS Kennedy’s service during the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
Five years later, the TS Kennedy answered the call to help again. After Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, the TS Kennedy departed Buzzards Bay for Houston on September 6th to provide housing for FEMA workers so that hotels would be available for the people of the city. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito were on hand to bid farewell to the TS Kennedy.
Shortly after she arrived in Texas, however, the ship was diverted to assist with the hurricane relief effort in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. The TS Kennedy returned to Buzzards Bay on November 17th after ten weeks. During her deployment, the ship provided more than 13,000 nights of lodging for relief workers and over 30,000 meals.
Check out these videos!
It makes me proud to know that my favorite ship, the TS Kennedy, is ready to help out when disaster strikes. What a positive example of “giving back” for cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy!
Thanks so much for reading my blogs throughout Sea Term 2020. I hope that you’ve learned a lot.
Promise me that you’ll join me here on the TS Kennedy for Sea Term 2021!
Your favorite large pirate,