Oct. 5, 2017

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Maritime UUPers head to Puerto Rico

uupdate 10-5-17

In a hurricane season for the record books, UUP members aboard the SUNY Maritime Empire State VI training-ship-turned-rescue-vessel have just responded to their third mission in less than three weeks.

The Empire State VI, with a crew of professional mariners that includes five UUPers from SUNY Maritime College, arrived in Puerto Rico over the weekend of Sept. 28 to respond to the devastation of Hurricane Maria. The ship is expected to remain in Puerto Rico for at least a month, and will be used to house recovery workers.

Maritime UUPers Dominic Valvo, Edward Madigan, Matt Mahanna, Ron Sigemann and James Carlucci got the call Sept. 1 that the federal government was activating the ship to respond to Texas following Hurricane Harvey. The ship left its port at the college Sept. 12, but was diverted en route to Florida to assist with the relief efforts there following Hurricane Irma.

Then, after a 10-day stay in Florida, the ship headed to Puerto Rico, where most of the island still has no power or running water two weeks after the Category 5 storm made landfall there.

Outside communication with the crew is not possible, but UUP Maritime Chapter President Barbara Warkentine said at the time of the activation for Texas that chapter members and the campus administration stood ready to help the members’ families during what at that time was expected to be a mission lasting perhaps only 30 days.

“We’re here, and when there are national disasters, we are always ready and willing to do our part,” she said.

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