NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Texas Maritime Academy's training ship and its 50 cadets are visiting the Port of New Orleans this week.

The 224-foot-long 'General Rudder' docked Tuesday and will remain through Thursday, said port spokeswoman Renee Aragon Dolese.

Cadets will conduct training exercises such as standing watches and vessel maintenance. Other activities include a visit to the National World War II Museum.

The Texas Maritime Academy, part of Texas A&M at Galveston, is among six state maritime academies. Cadets learn seamanship, navigation and ocean engineering.

'The Port of New Orleans is thrilled to welcome the Texas Maritime Academy,' said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. 'I want to offer all of the support and hospitality to this class of cadets who represent the bright future of the maritime industry.'

The General Rudder was built in 1983 as the USNS Contender for anti-submarine surveillance. As the T/V Kings Pointer, it was the flagship training vessel of the United States Merchant Marine Academy. It's named for a World War II Army general, Earl Rudder, who later was president of Texas A&M. He led Rangers at Pointe du Hoc during the D-Day invasion.

This is the ship's first visit to New Orleans. Stops earlier this year included Mobile, Ala., and Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Pensacola, and Tampa, Fla.

'Although the cadets have enjoyed other cities during their training they are the most excited to get to New Orleans,' said Bob Wright, spokesman for the Galveston campus. 'The Port of New Orleans is a great liberty port due to the Julia Street Cruise Terminal's proximity to the historic French Quarter and other attractions.'

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