Philly Shipyard delivers first NSMV training ship

Written by Marine Log Staff
NSMV training ship

Photo: Philly Shipyard

The first of five much awaited new training vessels for America’s state maritime academies was delivered today by Philly Shipyard, This first vessel, the Empire State will serve SUNY Maritime College, in Fort Schuyler, N.Y. The ships are being built for MARAD under the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program.

“We are beyond proud to deliver the Empire State today, our first government newbuild in the history of Philly Shipyard.” said Steinar Nerbovik, president & CEO of Philly Shipyard. “We are honored to be trusted with this important project, and on behalf of all of our skilled workers, we are confident that the Empire State will provide a safe, reliable and state-of-the-art training platform for generations of future mariners.”

This next-generation training fleet will address a critical shortage of qualified officers necessary to crew government and commercial owned sealift ships. In addition to providing world-class training for America’s future mariners, the NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

With a modern diesel-electric power and propulsion system, the NSMV training ships will feature numerous instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea. State maritime academies graduate more than half of all new officers each year—the merchant mariners who help keep cargoes and our economy moving. Many also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

In addition to being a state-of-the-art training and educational platform, each ship will feature modern hospital facilities, a helicopter pad, and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. Adding to the NSMV’s capability, it will provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.

Ship specifications will be compatible with the pier length, draft restrictions, and mooring limitations at each of the maritime training academies.

Vessel specifications:

  • Length: 159.85 meters
  • Breadth: 27.00 meters
  • Draft, scantling: 7.50 meters
  • Total berthing: 760 people
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Deadweight: 8,487 tonnes

Philly Shipyard was awarded the contract to build the NSMVs by TOTE Services, LLC which was hired by MARAD to oversee the construction of the training vessels as the Vessel Construction Manager (VCM). The NSMV Program is the first government sponsored shipbuilding program to utilize the VCM model. This model places the responsibility for the selection and oversight of the shipyard on a government contractor that utilizes commercial best practices to manage the project.

The next training vessel, NSMV II, destined for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, is scheduled to be delivered in 2024. Meanwhile, the keel laying for NSMV III (Maine Maritime Academy) and steel cutting for NSMV IV (Texas A&M Maritime Academy) were recently completed. Construction of NSMV V (California Maritime Academy) will commence later this year with all vessels to be delivered by 2026.

“Today’s delivery of the Empire State is a historic moment for the American maritime industry made possible by the U.S. Government’s investments in our nation’s industrial base,” said TOTE Services president Jeff Dixon. “These investments are on full display as we look to build the next generation of domestic mariner training ships more cost effectively – and on schedule – using commercial innovation and best practices. We must also give credit to the dedicated and skilled workers at Philly Shipyard, whose tireless efforts in the face of unprecedented challenges helped make this milestone possible.”

There is growing interest in the VCM contract model and its potential applicability to government shipbuilding programs to reduce costs, accelerate delivery times, and build more vessels.

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