Philly Shipyard Wins Five-Ship MARAD Training Vessel Contract

Image courtesy Philly Shipyard

Published Apr 10, 2020 11:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

Amercan shipbuilder Philly Shipyard will soon return to newbuilding activity thanks to a major order from the Maritime Administration. Philly has won the contract for MARAD's new series of training ships, the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) project. 

“This new world class vessel, constructed at an American shipyard, is part of our much-needed program to replace the aging training vessels currently operated by state maritime academies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement.

TOTE Services, which is managing the construction program for MARAD, selected Philly Shipyard for the contract. 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).

In training configuration, the vessels will have space for up to 600 cadets at a time. For disaster relief, they will be able to provide berthing for up to 1,000 first responders. In addition, they will be fitted with both a crane and a ro/ro ramp for relief cargo operations. 

“Investing in maritime education creates more American jobs,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.  “By the selection of Philly Shipyard, Inc., as the construction shipyard for the NSMV, this effort is not only bolstering the U.S. Merchant Marine, but the U.S. economy and vital transportation infrastructure as well.”

Congress has already appropriated the funding for the first three ships in the series, and the Trump administration's FY2021 budget request includes funds for the fourth. Philly Shipyard holds a contract for the first two, plus options for the remaining three.

Philly has not attracted commercial Jones Act shipbuilding orders to fill slots after a series of boxships for Matson, and it experienced a brief lull in yard operations between the delivery of the Panamax boxship Kaimana Hila in March 2019 and a repair contract for the MARAD sealift ship Antares in August. The NSMV project is its first newbuilding project in a year, and it marks a major step in Philly's plan to attract a larger share of government contracting activity. 

Philly is also working with Vard on a proposal for the U.S. Navy's Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform (CHAMP) program. The yard is one of four selected by the U.S. Navy to develop a proposed design for the new future fleet auxiliary.