The U.S. Maritime Administration has awarded Jacksonville-based TOTE Services the contract to serve as the Vessel Construction Manager for the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel that will operate as a training platform for future mariners as well as support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in times of need.
The contract was awarded Tuesday by Maritime Administrator RADM Mark H. Buzby, USN (Ret.). As construction manager, TOTE will be responsible for selecting a shipyard and ensuring that commercial best practices are used to deliver the NSMV on time and on budget. In addition the company will oversee and manage the detailed design, construction, testing, and delivery of the vessel.
With delivery anticipated for 2022, the NSMV will replace the Empire State VI as SUNY Maritime College’s training ship.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed MARAD to “provide for an entity other than the Maritime Administration to contract for the construction of the NSMV.” The NSMV is planned to help sustain world-class maritime training operations at the state maritime academies. The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces and a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets to train at sea.
Along with serving as an educational platform, the NSMV will also be available to support federal government efforts in response to national and international disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. To fullfil this role, the vessel will be also feature modern hospital facilities, a helicopter pad and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. A roll-on/roll-off ramp and crane will help facilitate container storage capabilities will enable it to provide critical supplies to damaged port facilities.
“TOTE Services is honored to have been awarded this contract to construct the NSMV that will serve as the new training ship for the US maritime community,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “This award reflects the wide-ranging knowledge and capabilities that TOTE Services has and will provide in executing MARAD’s vision to recapitalize the training fleet for our nation’s maritime academies, which provide qualified officers to support the domestic maritime industry.”
“The U.S. shipbuilding industry is vital to America’s economic strength and security,” said Administrator Buzby. “The selection of TOTE Services to work with a U.S. shipyard to deliver this class of vessels is an investment in our nation’s vital maritime infrastructure and underscores our mission to foster and promote the U.S. Merchant Marine.”
“The construction of this new NSMV will continue to showcase our nation’s shipbuilding standard of excellence,” continued Administrator Buzby. “Ultimately, it will provide an excellent training platform for future generations of mariners.”
Maritime College’s current training ship, Empire State VI, was initially built in 1962, but in 1989 it underwent a conversion converting the ship into a training vessel. Of the six training ships at the state maritime academies, the Empire State is the oldest and has been in service the longest.