USMMA’s Kings Pointer Re-Christened KINGS POINT, N.Y. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Acting Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen visited the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to celebrate the June 16 rechristening of the academy’s new training vessel, Kings Pointer, the academy announced in a release. They were joined by academy’s leadership, as well as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-N.Y., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. “The new Kings Pointer is yet another example of this administration’s commitment to ensuring first-rate training and facilities for the academy’s midshipmen,” said Foxx. “With this modern vessel, the USMMA will continue to produce the finest mariners in the world, helping ensure our national and economic security.” The President Barack Obama’s administration has made a comprehensive effort to renew facilities and teaching infrastructure at the nation’s maritime academy. Since fiscal 2009, the Obama administration has invested more than $450 million at the academy, including almost $100 million for capital improvements — the most funding ever secured for physical improvements at the Academy. Kings Pointer was retrofitted as a training vessel at North Florida Shipyard at a cost of $3.3 million. The rechristening follows the recent dedication of the new “up-to-date” Mallory pier at the academy. Before being redesigned to serve as a training vessel for students, the former MV Liberty Star served as a solid rocket booster recovery vessel for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), retrieving solid rocket boosters following space shuttle launches. “The Merchant Marine Academy has been a treasured part of this country since Congress commissioned its establishment in 1936,” said Schumer. “It is quite literally, the jewel of the sea, and given the continued role that Congress plays in its operations, it’s my responsibility as senator to do everything I can to see this institution flourish. I’m thrilled to have worked in recent years to address three key issues at the academy: finding inspiring leadership through a permanent superintendent, rehabilitating Mallory Pier, and today bringing back the Kings Pointer, this critical training vessel. It’s a banner day for the Merchant Marine Academy.” “The USMMA is the crown jewel of my congressional district because of the tradition of service and professionalism of its midshipmen and this institution,” said Israel. “The new Kings Pointer will ensure that midshipmen continue to receive superb training and preparation for serving our nation.” “I am proud to join Secretary Foxx and Admiral [James A. Helis [USMMA superintendent] today as we rechristen the Kings Pointer,” said Bishop. “Each year, we send our best and brightest to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to train to become our nation's next military and transportation leaders. This vessel will provide a vital expansion of that training.” Propelled by two combined 2,900-horsepower diesel engines, the 176-foot long Kings Pointer has a 6,000 mile range and a maximum speed of 15 knots. The ship’s controllable pitch propellers and auxiliary water jet thruster, combined with modern joy-stick dynamic positioning capability provide midshipmen a highly maneuverable training platform. The vessel has a 7,500-pound deck crane, which is an ideal tool for providing a basic understanding of modern cargo operations. It also has a fast rescue boat, which can provide midshipman critical experience in general launch operations. In addition, the vessel’s double towing winch, substantial towing H bitts and a massive towing fairlead add significant new towing training capabilities to the academy’s portfolio.