Illustration of the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel that will serve as SUNY Maritime College’s new training ship starting in 2022. Image Credit: SUNY Maritime College
The $1.3 trillion U.S. government spending bill signed by President Donald Trump on Friday includes $300 million in federal funding to build a new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel to replace the Empire State VI as SUNY Maritime College’s training ship, the state maritime academy announced Friday.
In a letter to the Maritime College Community, RADM Alfultis, President of Maritime College, said the new vessel, which will be the nation’s first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, will be delivered in time for the 2022 summer sea term.
“After many years of work, our dreams of having a new, purpose-built ship to educate and train the nation’s future mariners has come to pass,” wrote RADM Alfultis.
“Hundreds of Maritime College faculty, staff, alumni and supports advocated to replace Empire State VI through several letter-writing campaigns. I thank you for playing your pare in getting us to this exceptional day in Maritime’s nearly 150-year history,” he added.
Maritime’s current training ship, Empire State VI, was built in 1962 and later converted to serve as a training ship for Maritime College students in 1989. Of the six training ships in America, Empire State is the oldest and has been in service the longest.
The U.S. Maritime Administration has been working with Alameda, California-based Herbert Engineering for the past several years on the design of the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV), the details of which were released to the public last year.
The National Security Multi-Mission Vessel will be an entirely new class and designed specifically for training purposes. The vessel will also be designed to respond to national disasters, as state maritime academy ships have done in the past in the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The first NSMV, which will be called Empire State VII, will have berthing for more than 700 individuals, or up to 1,000 people for up to two weeks in times of humanitarian need. It will have roll-on/roll-off capability and container storage, with a cargo crane and a side ramp for self-loading. The vessel also features hospital facilities, a helicopter landing pad, training spaces, including eight classrooms, a full training bridge, lab spaces and an auditorium. For propulsion, the vessel will be equipped with stern and bow thrusters, and a flap-type rudder to allow the ship to moor without help from tugs. The vessel will not be dynamically positioned.
Maritime College says the first NSMV will cost approximately $350 million to build.
“This news would not have been possible without the consistent staunch support of our elected officials, especially Representative Joe Crowley, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and the rest of the New York delegation, as well as the dedication of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson,” wrote RADM Alfultis.
“A new training vessel is an investment in the next generation of mariners – one that will foster the expertise and judgment necessary for America’s maritime community to continue leading the world,” said Chairman Crowley, whose district includes SUNY Maritime College.
“SUNY Maritime is known for its world-class ability to churn out talented engineers by the boatload, but they need a new, world-class vessel to continue to do that into the future,” said Senator Schumer. “This $300 million investment for a new training vessel will help better train the students of SUNY Maritime and steer them toward an even more successful future.”
“This funding is an important investment to repair and replace the training vessel at SUNY Maritime so that our mariners continue to have the training facilities they need,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I was proud to fight for these funds to be included in the Omnibus legislation because our mariners deserve the most up to date equipment and training facilities to learn the latest and most efficient technologies.”
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