Philly Shipyard Cuts Steel for First New MARAD Training Ship

philly shipyard
Steel-cutting begins at Philly Shipyard (Courtesy TOTE Services)

Published Dec 15, 2020 8:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

Philly Shipyard has cut the first steel for the first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV), a new class of training ship for America's state merchant marine academies. 

The project marks a turnaround for Aker-owned Philly Shipyard. After an order for four boxships for TOTE Maritime fell through in 2018, the yard's backlog wound down, prompting hundreds of layoffs. The company delivered its last ship in March 2019 and has since been engaged in refit projects for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD). 

In April 2020, Philly was selected for the NSMV contract by TOTE's consulting arm, TOTE Services, which is overseeing NSMV construction on behalf of MARAD. South Korean marine engineering firm Daewoo Ship Engineering Company (DSEC), which played a role in recent Jones Act newbuilds at NASSCO, contributed to Philly's winning design. The main engines, auxiliaries, HVAC system and structural steel will all be sourced in the United States. 

Following delivery of the ships to TOTE Services, the vessels will be transferred to MARAD for use at the state maritime academies (and for responding to humanitarian and natural disasters). They will each have capacity for up to 600 cadets in the training role and up to 1,000 passengers in their disaster-relief role. In addition to classroom space, they will have a helipad, hospital facilities and a ro/ro ramp. 

“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 L. Chao.

TOTE has placed the order for the first two ships, which will replace the aging training vessels at SUNY Maritime and Massachusetts Maritime. The president's budget request for FY2021 includes funding for the third ship in the series.