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Letter: We’re not blocking Kings Point inquiry

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located at Kings

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located at Kings Point, graduated 229 merchant marine and military officers at its 80th commencement ceremony on June 18, 2016. Photo Credit: Benjamin Benson

Newsday’s Dec. 2 editorial on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is mystifying [“Parents, alumni should support Kings Point probe”].

In no way have parents and alumni suggested that midshipmen boycott efforts by the academy to get to the root causes of issues relating to sexual assault and sexual harassment.

To the contrary, our organizations have advocated for the safety and well-being of the midshipmen for more than 70 years, and will continue to do so. We will still be caring for the midshipmen when political appointees have long forgotten about the academy.

Along with the maritime industry, we believe the decision to suspend Sea Year on commercial ships was misguided. This action adversely affects the supply of trained officers who are so vital to our country’s ability to import and export cargo. Sea Year on commercial ships best prepares midshipmen to serve in the merchant marine — a fleet of specialized vessels that hold vast amounts of cargo. This training has never before been suspended, not even during World War II, when 142 students lost their lives during Sea Year.

James Tobin, Susan Wagner McKenna, Great Neck

Editor’s note: Tobin holds a Coast Guard merchant marine license and is president of the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation. McKenna is vice chair of the USMMA National Parents Association.


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