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An illustration of the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel

Illustration credit: MARAD

Philly Shipyard Awarded Contract for Fifth and Final National Training Ship

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 8099
April 18, 2022

Philly Shipyard, just three years after facing an uncertain future, is nearing full shipyard capacity as it announces an order for a fifth and final MARAD training ship.

U.S. shipbuilder Philly Shipyard has been awarded the contract for the fifth and final National Security Multi-Mission training ships (NSMV) from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The order was placed under the April 2020 contract with TOTE Services, which allows for the construction of up to five NSMVs. The initial award included the first two vessels in the NSMV program (NSMVs 1 and 2). The next two vessels in the NSMV program (NSMVs 3 and 4) were ordered in January 2021.

Philly Shipyard said the order for NSMV 5, is valued at approximately $300 million, bringing the total order intake under the contract for the five-ship program to be approximately $1.5 billion.

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.

The five shipbuilding orders were placed under the April 2020 contract with TOTE Services, the NSMV Vessel Construction Manager, which allowed for the construction of up to five NSMVs. The initial award included the first two vessels in the NSMV program (NSMVs 1 and 2). The next two vessels in the NSMV program (NSMVs 3 and 4) were ordered in January 2021.

Construction of the new NSMV 5 is expected to commence in 2023 with delivery scheduled in 2026.

“It is truly a great day for Philly Shipyard as we are now responsible for building the complete series of the NSMV program – a physical symbol of MARAD’s investment in the future of maritime education and training,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard. “The NSMV program continues to mark a turning point in our Company’s transformation to serve both commercial and government markets.”

With its roots in Jones Act shipbuilding, commercial activities at Philly dried up 2019 following the delivery of Matson’s two Aloha-class containerships, leaving the future of the shipyard in doubt and forcing it to pursue government repair and maintenance work as part of a “go gray” survival strategy.

The contract for the NSMV program has allowed Philly Shipyard to reconstitute its workforce as shipyard production ramps up to full capacity expected mid-year. The company said its total workforce stands currently around 1,200.

In addition to the NSMVs, Philly Shipyard’s order backlog also includes a contract from Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company for a Jones Act-compliant Subsea Rock Installation Vessel (SRIV), marking Philly’s first commercial order since the Aloha-class ships. The contract has a value of approximately $200 million and the SRIV will be constructed in between NSMVs 4 and 5.

The NSMVs will be owned by MARAD, which developed the initial concept for the design. Keel laying of NSMV 1 took place in December 2021 and full production start of NSMV 2 occurred in November 2021. Pre-production activities on NSMVs 3 and 4 and SRIV 1 are ongoing.

NSMV 1 and 2 are designated for SUNY Maritime College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, respectively. NSMV 2 and 4 are will be used by Maine Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy, respectively, while NSMV 5 is bound for Cal Maritime.

“I would like to thank both TOTE Services and MARAD for their continued support. This award increases our order backlog to six vessels, which includes five NSMVs and one SRIV. Together with our union partners, workforce, and supplier network, our current backlog reinforces that shipbuilding is here to stay in Philadelphia,” said Nerbovik.

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