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USNS Sirius becomes training ship for Texas Maritime Academy

WASHINGTON (USTCNS) --- The U.S. Transportation CommandÂ’s maritime component, the Military Sealift CommandÂ’s combat stores ship USNS Sirius became the Texas Maritime Academy's new training ship July 1. USNS Sirius, which has been supplying U.S. Navy ships at sea since 1981, was stricken from the Navy register and transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration. MARAD provides state maritime academies with training ships to foster the development of a robust U.S. Merchant Marine capable of carrying U.S. waterborne commerce and serving as a naval auxiliary in times of war or during national emergencies.

"Providing training ships to schools supports the mariner licensing programs in a very concrete way," said Erhard Koehler, project officer for the MARAD training school ship program. "Today, roughly 50 percent of licensed mariners come from state maritime schools."

Texas Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies in the United States, prepares undergraduate students for licensing as officers in the United States' Merchant Marine. In addition to being a floating campus during summer cruises, the school's training ship provides additional classroom, meeting and training space during the school year.

"This ship will be an excellent training platform for our cadets and will give the program room to expand and foster an increased enrollment in the Maritime Corps of Cadets," said Dr. Bowen Loftin, vice president and CEO of the Texas A&M University at Galveston. "Sirius will afford opportunities for use beyond cadet training, and will be the flagship of all the Maritime Academies."

Sirius was transferred from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary to MSC in January 1981. For the past 20 years, the combat stores ship has been providing underway replenishment of supplies such as food, dry provisions, repair parts and mail to U.S. Navy ships at sea.

The former USNS Sirius was one of 120 ships operated around the world daily by MSC, the largest single employer of U.S. merchant mariners. MSC ships replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, preposition combat cargo at sea and move equipment and supplies for the U.S. military.

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