Marking the start of a new era in U.S. maritime education, TOTE Services, LLC and Philly Shipyard, Inc. today cut steel for the first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) at Philly Shipyard.
The purpose-built, state-of-the-art diesel electric NSMVs are being built to provide world-class training at America’s state maritime academies and will also will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
“This new state-of-the-art modern school training ship will be a tremendous addition to the U.S. flag fleet, be available to respond to disaster relief efforts, and support about 1,200 jobs in Philly Shipyard,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
“For more than a decade, MARAD has been working to make the NSMV a reality for America’s state maritime academy cadets who deserve state-of-the-art training ships,” said Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby. “Thanks to the strong bipartisan support that the NSMV has received in Congress and the leadership of Secretary Chao, this program will further advance excellence in American maritime education and reignite the jobs engine that is America’s shipyards.”
In May 2019, MARAD awarded TOTE Services a contract to be the Vessel Construction Manager for the NSMV program, an innovative approach to federal shipbuilding that sees the government benefit from commercial best practices for ship design and construction.
In April 2020, TOTE Services awarded Philly Shipyard Inc. a contract to construct up to five NSMVs.
“TOTE Services is proud to have been awarded a contract by MARAD to be the vessel construction manager for this new, state-of-the-art training ship that will help provide qualified officers to support the domestic maritime industry,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “Each of us at TOTE Services is thrilled to be part of this historic investment in the U.S. maritime industry, and are working closely with MARAD and Philly Shipyard to advance this new class of vessel built by union labor in a U.S. shipyard with U.S.-made steel and U.S.-made engines.”
TOTE Services is working with its design partners Glosten Inc. and with Philly Shipyard and its subcontractors, including the design team at DSEC to deliver the first NSMV in early 2023.
“This is a tremendous honor and recognition of our history of building high quality ships over the last 17 years,” said Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard President and CEO. “This project begins a new chapter in our history, a new customer and the first in series, which is a challenge we are eager to meet. I am confident that our workforce will deliver ships that the state academy cadets will be proud to sail for many years to come.”
The NSMV program is an important investment in the U.S. shipbuilding industry.
As part of the contract, Philly Shipyard will be working with domestic mills to supply steel for the vessels and U.S. manufacturers to provide key ship equipment, including GE Wabtec, which is manufacturing the engines and generators, GE Transportation for the main generator engine, Cummins USA for the emergency generator set, and Bronswerk for the air conditioning systems.
The NSMV 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 U.S. merchant marine officers each year.
In addition to its training role, the NSMV is designed to be a highly-functional national asset able to fulfill numerous roles. 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.
TOTE Services has ordered the first two NSMVs and the administration’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2021 includes sufficient funding for TOTE Services to order the third ship.
The first two NSMVs will replace training ships at SUNY Maritime Academy and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, which are both more than 50 years old.