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Chairman Crowley, Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand Announces $300 Million in Funding for New Training Vessel at SUNY Maritime

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced $300 million in federal funding for a new training vessel at SUNY Maritime College. This funding is critically needed to replace the aging Empire State VI and will allow SUNY to prepare academy members on the most modern and efficient technologies.

“A new training vessel is an investment in the next generation of mariners – one that will foster the expertise and judgment necessary for America’s maritime community to continue leading the world,” said Chairman Crowley, whose district includes SUNY Maritime College.

“SUNY Maritime is known for its world-class ability to churn out talented engineers by the boatload, but they need a new, world-class vessel to continue to do that into the future,” said Senator Schumer. “This $300 million investment for a new training vessel will help better train the students of SUNY Maritime and steer them toward an even more successful future.”

“This funding is an important investment to repair and replace the training vessel at SUNY Maritime so that our mariners continue to have the training facilities they need,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I was proud to fight for these funds to be included in the Omnibus legislation because our mariners deserve the most up to date equipment and training facilities to learn the latest and most efficient technologies.”

“Chairman Crowley along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have been fierce advocates for the urgent need to replace the aging fleet of training ships used by the State Maritime Academies, especially at SUNY Maritime College,” said RADM Michael A. Alfultis, (USMS) Ph.D, President, State University of New York, Maritime College.  “I deeply appreciate their efforts to secure funding for a new training vessel, which will also serve as a highly capable disaster-response platform in time of national need, and allow SUNY Maritime College to continue producing the maritime workforce for New York and the nation.”

“This is a significant investment in maritime education,” said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall and Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “We are so thankful to Chairman Crowley, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their persistence and commitment in gaining this much-needed financial support. And, we are thrilled for Maritime College. Students and faculty will be able to learn with current technology, having real hands-on experience on campus for the careers they intend to pursue.

“At the same time, this funding enables us to have a ship that can be called on to help the country’s efforts to recover from natural disasters, which Maritime College’s current ship has been charged to do following the devastation left by hurricanes Maria and Irma.”

For years, Chairman Crowley and Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand have championed increased funding for our nation’s aging training ships and have consistently worked to ensure the needs of the nation’s six State Maritime Academies are met.

In 2014, Crowley led 25 bipartisan members of Congress in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget with the initial request that the agencies develop and support a plan to replace the aging ships used by our nation’s SMAs.

As part of this investment, Chairman Crowley will ensure appropriators include additional funding to maintain and repair the Empire State VI until the new training vessel is fully constructed, and will continue to support efforts for other SMAs to have their aging ships replaced.