"A wonderful time was had by all!"
Last evening the Kennedy hosted a reception aboard for local officials, MMA
graduates, and senior administrative officers from the Universidad Maritimo
Internacional de Panama (UMIP - the maritime academy of Panama). In addition
many of the same MMA graduates we saw at the party we enjoyed last Friday
evening at the Spanish fort in the old section of Panama City, many Americans
from the US Embassy staff visited the ship including the Deputy Chief of
Mission, the US Naval Attache and the US Coast Guard liaison. Shipping company
officers stationed in Panama for Evergreen and China Ocean Shipping were in
attendance, as well as port operations folks from the thriving container
business here. And the Operations Chief from Authoridad de Panama Canal was
present, rubbing elbows with all the canal pilots that work under his
All in all there were 165 people at the reception, this included many of the
ship's officers and a large contingent of the cadet officers. We even saw some
of our own students that have been studying at UMIP on an exchange program. As
the evening played out, a proposal came from a Marine Transportation professor
asking if we could carry some UMIP cadets on our transit - of course - all the
people that needed to approve such a passage for the cadets were present - and
it was done. So tomorrow when CAPT Bushy takes the Kennedy off the dock, seven
Panamanian cadets will be on the bridge with him.
So the details of the Kennedy transit tomorrow have been established - laying
alongside the dock until 1400 hours, then getting underway and heading north.
By that time I will be nearing Logan International Airport - going back the
cold northern climates once again. I have had a wonderful time visiting the
cadets and crew - as well as all the alumni. Witnessing the excitement aboard
while on the sea term is truly a gift. The cadets are upbeat as they are
learning the practical aspects of their future careers, and the staff are
relentless in the pursuit of proper training and safety standards. And the
food is awesome too. I'll go back knowing in a few short weeks the tanned faces
lining the rails as Kennedy will have had the adventure of a lifetime, and I'm
glad I could share in that.