Philly Shipyard has announced a construction milestone with the keel laying for the third of five cutting-edge training vessels being built for America’s state maritime academies.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) commissioned the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program to provide modern training opportunities for America’s future mariners and to support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts when required.
Philly Shipyard Inc., and TOTE Services, LLC, an affiliate of TOTE Group acting as the vessel construction manager for the project, celebrated the significant construction milestone today with a keel laying ceremony, an age-old tradition believed to bring good fortune to the ship under construction and its future captain and crew. The milestone marks the placement of the first grand block of the vessel in the building dock.
The third NSMV is slated for delivery to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.
“At the moment, we have three vessels taking shape in our docks and a fourth being fabricated in our production shops,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President & CEO of Philly Shipyard. “We wish the Maine Maritime students good luck with final exam week and look forward to welcoming the cadets in a few weeks to see the progress on their new ship and to tour our yard. I want to thank everyone involved in this project as we continue on this exciting new build process.”
The NSMV program is a crucial investment in American shipbuilding. The vessels will include state-of-the-art instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and accommodations for up to 600 cadets, providing an unparalleled maritime academic environment at sea. State maritime academies are responsible for graduating more than half of all new officers each year, many of whom also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.
TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon praised the success of the NSMV construction management program, which is helping to revitalize the nation’s maritime training fleet. He emphasized the importance of the new vessels in producing the next generation of maritime professionals who will lead the nation in various capacities.
In May 2019, MARAD selected TOTE Services to serve as the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program, ensuring the incorporation of best practices from commercial ship construction. TOTE Services, an industry leader in vessel services, ship management, and marine operations, awarded Philly Shipyard a contract in April 2020 to construct up to five NSMVs. The ships will be owned and operated by MARAD.
Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry S. Paul expressed gratitude for the support of the Congressional Delegation, particularly Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King, in championing the new training vessels.
“Today as we celebrate the Training Ship State of Maine V’s keel laying, we also recognize her future purpose for both the Academy and our Nation. I thank all who have worked and will work to bring her to completion, especially the team at TOTE and Philly Shipyard. Thank you in advance to those future cadets and crew who will stand watch over her,” said Paul.
Funding has been allocated by Congress to replace aging training ships with NSMVs at SUNY Maritime College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy, and California State University Maritime.
The first vessel in the NMSV program, NMSV 1, aka Empire State VII, was launched in September and is bound for SUNY Maritime College. The second NSMV is scheduled to be delivered to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2024.
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