Fourth Keel Laying for National Security Multi-Mission Vessel Program

Philly Shipyard

Published Dec 10, 2023 4:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By Philly Shipyard]

TOTE Services, LLC (“TOTE Services”), an affiliate of TOTE, LLC (“TOTE Group”), and Philly Shipyard, Inc. (“Philly Shipyard”), the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA (Oslo: PHLY), today marked a significant construction milestone at a keel laying ceremony for the fourth of five new purpose built, state-of-the-art training vessels for America’s state maritime academies. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) new vessel program – known as National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMVs) – was designed to provide world-class training for America’s future mariners and to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

The keel laying is a ceremonial recognition in which the first grand block of the vessel is loaded into the building dock. Keel laying traditions are said to bring good luck to the ship during construction and to the captain and crew that will sail on the vessel throughout her operating life. The fourth NSMV is scheduled to be delivered to Texas A&M Maritime Academy in 2025.

“We extend a warm welcome back to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy leadership and cadets as we celebrate another milestone in the progression of the ship, Lone Star State,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President & CEO of Philly Shipyard.  “We remain honored to be the shipbuilder of choice for this revolutionary new-build program, and are proud to work alongside of TOTE Services and MARAD on a program that will positively impact the many generations of maritime cadets that follow.”

The NSMV program is an important investment in America’s shipbuilding industry, which supports nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs. Each NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and accommodations 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 officers each year—the merchant mariners who help keep cargoes and our economy moving. Many also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

TOTE Services is the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program, the first government shipbuilding program to use the VCM contract model. This innovative approach enables shipyards to apply commercial best practices for design and construction to government vessels.

“We are excited to celebrate this significant achievement today as we continue working to fulfill our commitment to MARAD and our nation’s future cadets by delivering the modern training platforms they deserve,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon.  “There is growing interest in the VCM contract model and its potential applicability to government shipbuilding programs to reduce costs, accelerate delivery times, and build more vessels.”

Congress has appropriated funding to replace aging training vessels with NSMVs at SUNY Maritime College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy and California State University Maritime Academy, respectively. These ships will be owned and operated by MARAD.

NSMV 1, Empire State, was delivered in September 2023, while NSMV 2 and NSMV 3 are both under construction in Philly Shipyard’s outfitting and building docks, respectively. Construction on NSMV 5 has not yet started. Monthly photo galleries that document progress on each vessel can be found at https://www.phillyshipyard.com/category/around-the-shipyard/.

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