Texas A&M University at Galveston, the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, TOTE Services, LLC and Philly Shipyard, Inc. yesterday celebrated the cutting of steel for the fourth National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) destined for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas in 2025.
The event marked another major construction milestone for the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) NSMV program, designed to provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platform to replace the aging fleet of training ships currently used by the six U.S. state maritime academies. The vessels also serve as a disaster response resource during humanitarian efforts.
“What I have witnessed is a remarkable, coordinated effort by all six of the state maritime academies to relentlessly press forward to engage our congressional delegations, alumni, and regional stakeholders to get us here today,” said Col. Michael E. Fossum, vice president of Texas A&M University, chief operating officer of the Galveston Campus and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. “I am personally grateful to the president of Texas A&M University, the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and the board of regents for making this their top priority and not giving up until we were successful.”
“TOTE Services is proud to join MARAD, Philly Shipyard, and the Texas A&M Aggies to celebrate the start of construction of this new vessel that will be used to help train the next generation of officers at the only maritime academy on the Gulf Coast,” said TOTE Services president Jeff Dixon. “This vessel will vastly enhance Texas A&M’s degree programs and give the Academy a ship that can hold its entire program in a single cruise, providing cadets the opportunity to become skilled in ship-handling, decision-making, and unexpected challenges with the type of comradery that cannot be replicated in a classroom.”
In May 2019, MARAD awarded TOTE Services a contract to be the Vessel Construction Manager (VCM) for the NSMV program. Since then, the innovative VCM contract structure has proven to be an effective model in which the government benefits from commercial best practices to design and construct vessels that are built by union labor in a U.S. shipyard with U.S.-made steel and U.S.-made engines.
“Today, marks another significant milestone for TOTE, the Maritime Administration, and the maritime industry as whole,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips (Rear Admiral USN, Ret.). “These NSMV’s will play a crucial role in the maritime industry – providing future generations of mariners a world-class platform for training and serving as an exceptional resource for emergency response and homeland security for the nation.”
“We are proud to welcome cadets and staff from Texas A&M Maritime Academy to our shipyard in celebration of the official start of fabrication on their new training vessel,” said Steinar Nerbovik, president and CEO, Philly Shipyard. “With this milestone event in the NSMV program, we now have four ships under active construction and strong backlog into the future. I want to thank everyone involved in this project across the board, including all of our advocates, our partners at MARAD and TOTE Services, our suppliers, and of course the staff and workers around me who are supporting and constructing these important vessels that will build America’s maritime future.”
Construction of the first two vessels is well underway, with contracted delivery of NSMV I to SUNY Maritime College in 2023, NSMV II to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2024, and NSMV III to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.
The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets to train in a maritime academic environment at sea. 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.
Length: 159.85 meters
Breadth: 27.00 meters
Draft, scantling: 7.50 meters
Total berthing: 760 people
Speed: 18 knots
Deadweight: 8,487 tonnes