Illustration credit: MARAD

Funding Secured For Final Training Ship Bound for Cal Maritime

Mike Schuler
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March 16, 2022

With President Biden’s signing of the massive $1.5 billion omnibus spending package, funding has been secured for a fifth and final National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) to serve as a new training ship for Cal Maritime Academy.

“We are grateful for the funding of this new ship,” said Cal Maritime President Tom Cropper. “This moment is remarkable – it culminates eight years of work by the Consortium of State Maritime Academies and for the first time, provides brand new training vessels for our cadets. Today is a great day to be a Keelhauler.”

The five purpose-built NSMVs will serve as state-of-the-art training vessels for the nation’s maritime academies. The vessels will feature instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets. Each ship will also be equipped for humanitarian and disaster relief, with hospital facilities, a helicopter pad, and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. The vessels will also provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.

“On behalf of the Maritime Administration, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and the Biden-Harris Administration, we are extremely pleased to receive funding for the fifth National Security Multi-mission Vessel,” said Acting Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “This investment represents a steadfast commitment to our maritime workforce development and our national security. The construction and delivery of these vessels also demonstrates a highly innovative and cost-effective shipbuilding program that has enabled government to draw on industry best practices.”

Construction of the first and second NSMVs, designated for SUNY Maritime College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, respectively, is already underway at Philly Shipyards.

Philly Shipyard was awarded the contract to construct up to five NSMVs by the program’s vessel construction manager, TOTE Services, in April 2020. The initial order called for construction of the first two ships in the series, while a subsequent order in January 2021 authorized TOTE to execute a subsequent second order for the third and fourth ships in the five-ship series.

Deliver of the first vessel is expected in 2023. The next two ships are designated for Maine Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy, respectively.

All five of the ships wil bel owned by the federal government and part of MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet, on custodial loan to the state maritime academies. 

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