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Fifth MARAD Training Vessel Construction Confirmed for Philly Shipyard

order for construction of fifth US training vessel
Five NSMVs are the first modern training vessels built for the state-operated maritime schools (MARAD)

Published Apr 18, 2022 2:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction of the fifth training ship under the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program has been confirmed according to Philly Shipyard. The Philadelphia-based shipyard reported that it received confirmation of the contract from Tote Services, which is the contractor overseeing the program for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Funding for the vessel was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which funds the U.S. Government through September 2022.

The order of the vessel marks the fifth and final vessel planned under the program, which is the first time the U.S. Government has built modern vessels for the state-operated training schools for the maritime industry. Historically the academies, which train about 70 percent of the officers in the U.S. maritime industry, have had to make do with hand me down vessels, outdated and retired from the commercial industry. The vessels have lacked modern equipment and dedicated training facilities.

After years of planning, MARAD selected Tote Services in May 2019 to lead the program and in April 2020 confirmed the order for the first two vessels in the program. Subsequent funding was provided by the U.S. Congress for the second order placed in January 2021, which covered the third and fourth vessels.

The vessels are designed to provide the state maritime academies located in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas, and California, with modern and adaptable training platforms. The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces and a full training bridge with accommodation for up to 600 cadets to train both at the schools and annual training cruises. Along with serving as an educational and training platform, the NSMV will also be available to support the federal government efforts in response to national and international disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. In this role as a National Defense Reserve Fleet vessel, the NSMV will incorporate medical capabilities, a command and control platform, and berthing for up to 1,000 first responders and recovery workers. The vessel’s roll-on/roll-off ramp and crane facilitate container storage capabilities will enable it to provide critical support equipment and supplies during disaster support missions.

Keel laying of NSMV 1, which was assigned to New York occurred in December 2021 and full production start of NSMV 2, assigned to Maine, occurred in November 2021. Pre-production activities on NSMVs 3 and 4 are ongoing according to Philly Shipyard with the vessels assigned to Massachusetts and Texas. Construction of the fifth vessel is expected to commence in 2023 with the contractual delivery date set for 2026 and the vessel will go to California.

“It is truly a great day for Philly Shipyard as we are now responsible for building the complete series of the NSMV program – a physical symbol of MARAD’s investment in the future of maritime education and training,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard. “The NSMV program continues to mark a turning point in our company’s transformation to serve both commercial and government markets.”

The contract provides the shipyard, which in 2019 had no orders, work for at least the next five years. The fifth NSMV vessel will be built after the shipyard’s private contract to build a Subsea Rock Installation Vessel for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company., which plans to deploy the vessel to support offshore wind farm construction. Great Lakes Dredge also has an option for a sister ship. Philly Shipyard said the new contract will permit the yard in mid-2022 to reach full capacity expanding its current workforce of around 1,200 people.