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New SUNY Maritime training ship hit by tech problems

Written by Nick Blenkey
First NSMV training ship, Empire State VII

Photo: SUNY Maritime

While social media posts indicate that SUNY Maritime College cadets look to be having a memorable time in their first Summer Sea Term aboard the school’s new training ship the Empire State VII, not all has gone quite to plan.

A planned call to Portsmouth, U.K., has been called off due to a technical issue with the fuel system of the vessel, which is the first of the five new training vessels for America’s state maritime academies being built for MARAD under the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program. In addition, the ship appears to have been having an “ongoing problem with IT networks.“

In a message to the SUNY Maritime College community posted on Facebook July 5, college president Admiral John Okon wrote:

“We are now half way complete with SST-2024. The cadets are doing very well with their watchkeeping, maintenance, and class routine and now have two port visits under their belts. Yesterday, to celebrate the 4th of July, they had a welcomed picnic on the Flight Deck of the Empire State VII.

“When the ship departed from Port Canaveral to Portsmouth, U.K., last Saturday, all fuel oil purifiers and fuel systems were working normally, and the fuel system had full redundancy. A discovery made yesterday during routine maintenance revealed this was no longer the case. The ship’s team took 24 hours to troubleshoot and assess the best options to continue the training cruise. At no time did the ship lose propulsion, and the redundant system works as designed.

“After consultation with the Maritime Administration and the college leadership, Captain McManus decided to cancel the next port of call to Portsmouth, U.K., and return to the western Atlantic to allow MARAD, the vessel construction manager, the shipyard, and the original equipment manufacturer, to provide better troubleshooting and maintenance repair support. This change eliminates the risk of not getting timely support for the ship to a foreign port, and also allows MARAD the opportunity to continue troubleshooting the ongoing problem with IT networks.

“While we were all looking forward to the port visits abroad, prudence dictates that we make this adjustment. Please continue to monitor your email for updates regarding summer sea term and upcoming port calls.”

Yesterday, in a Facebook post, SUNY Maritime said: “The Empire State VII intends to be at Pennos Wharf St. Georges, Bermuda July 22-26th.”

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