In good news for the California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) and Philly Shipyard, the $1.5 billion omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Biden yesterday includes funding for the fifth National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV).
The vessels are being built to replace the aging fleet of training ships at state maritime academies and this fifth vessel will go to Cal Maritime.
The current training ships and the new NSMVs are owned by the federal government and part of MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet, on custodial loan to the state maritime academies. Philly Shipyard is to build up to five of the ships under a contract awarded it in 2020 by TOTE Services LLC, which is serving as MARAD’s vessel construction manager for the program
Construction of the first NSMV, designated for SUNY Maritime College with a 2023 completion, is already underway at Philly Shipyard. The next three ships are designated for Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy, respectively.
“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/”
The new ships are designed to provide professional training for future mariners as well as to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.
“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 Maritime 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.”
The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and accommodations for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea. Collectively, the six state maritime academies graduate nearly 70% of all new U.S. merchant marine officers each year.