Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Celebrates Black History Month by highlighting contributions of African Americans to industry
BALTIMORE – Maritime Administrator David Matsuda hosted approximately 125 area high school students onboard the Baltimore-based federal merchant ship, the Cape Washington, to highlight maritime career opportunities and the importance of a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) education in the field today. Students from Baltimore- and Washington, D.C.-area high schools toured the ship’s bridge, engine room, decks, and cargo holds to learn about the industry and the many contributions made by African Americans in celebration of Black History Month.
“Maritime is a vibrant, growing industry with terrific opportunities for young men and women interested in technical careers,” said Administrator Matsuda. “As we take the time today to honor the role many notable African Americans have played in the history of this industry, we hope to encourage more young people to pursue the kind of science and engineering education they need to participate in the future of this booming field.”
The Cape Washington event is part of the Department of Transportation’s ongoing efforts to educate high school students about transportation-related careers and to encourage them to study science, technology, engineering, and math. The maritime industry commonly draws individuals with strong STEM educations and President Obama has stressed the importance of providing American students with a solid foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to keep the nation competitive in the global economy.
The Cape Washington is a roll-on/roll-off vessel designed to carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles, military trucks, tanks, and helicopters, which can be easily driven on or off the ship for transport. The vessel’s cargo holds has the capacity to store and carry the equivalent of 64 C-5 aircraft loads or 4,000 automobiles.
The Cape Washington is one of the Maritime Administration’s “Ready Reserve Force” (RRF) ships, which are maintained in a constant state of readiness by approximately 30 civilian mariners who work for commercial ship operators under contract to the federal government. RRF ships remain vigilant and “on call” for the U.S. government to rapidly deploy anywhere around the world in support of America’s military forces or foreign countries needing humanitarian aid.