TOTE and Philly Shipyard Lay Keel for MARAD National Security Vessel

Philly Shipyard
Philly Shipyard and Tote Keel Laying Ceremony

Published May 1, 2023 5:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

TOTE Services, an affiliate of TOTE Group, and Philly Shipyard, the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA (Oslo: PHLY), marked a significant construction milestone at a keel laying ceremony for the third 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 third NSMV is scheduled to be delivered to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.



“Today, we reached another great shipbuilding milestone for our shipyard and the NSMV program as a whole,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President & CEO of Philly Shipyard. “At the moment, we have three vessels taking shape in our docks and a fourth being fabricated in our production shops. We wish the Maine Maritime students good luck with final exam week and look forward to welcoming the cadets in a few weeks to see the progress on their new ship and to tour our yard. I want to thank everyone involved in this project as we continue on this exciting new build process.”

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.

“Today we celebrate the third keel laying of an NSMV vessel in 18 months, demonstrating the efficiency and success of this unique construction management program that is helping recapitalize our nation’s maritime training fleet at academies from coast to coast,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “This exciting moment shows we are one giant step closer to providing the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) a first-in-class vessel to produce the next generation of maritime officers, engineers, supply chain managers, and logisticians that will help lead our nation in the years ahead.”

MARAD selected TOTE Services to be the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program in May 2019 to ensure the utilization of best practices in commercial ship construction. As an industry leader in vessel services, ship management and marine operations, TOTE Services is overseeing development of these new vessels, which will provide a strong U.S. maritime fleet, crewed by the world’s best trained merchant mariners. In April 2020, TOTE Services awarded Philly Shipyard a contract to construct up to five NSMVs. These ships will be owned and operated by MARAD.

“Today as we celebrate the Training Ship State of Maine V’s keel laying, we also recognize her future purpose for both the Academy and our Nation. I thank all who have worked and will work to bring her to completion, especially the team at TOTE and Philly Shipyard. Thank you in advance to those future cadets and crew who will stand watch over her. Today, would not be possible without the incredible support of our Congressional Delegation, especially Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King, who has championed this national asset for our Academy and the State,” said Jerry S. Paul, Maine Maritime Academy President.

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, respectively.

About TOTE Services

TOTE Services, LLC (“TOTE Services”) is a leading U.S.-based ship management company that skillfully and expertly provides crewing and technical services to meet the needs of commercial, privately owned and U.S. Government vessels. Since 2015, TOTE Services has overseen construction and management of the world’s first LNG powered container ships, activated U.S. training ships to support disaster relief and managed many MARAD vessels. TOTE Services, along with TOTE Maritime Alaska, LLC and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, LLC, comprise the TOTE group of companies. The TOTE group is part of the Saltchuk family of companies. www.toteservices.com

About Philly Shipyard

Philly Shipyard, Inc. (PSI) is a leading U.S. shipbuilder that is presently pursuing a mix of commercial and government work. It possesses a state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility and has earned a reputation as a preferred provider of oceangoing merchant vessels with a track record of delivering quality ships, having delivered around 50% of all large ocean-going Jones Act commercial ships since 2000.  PSI is the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA. Philly Shipyard ASA is listed on the Euronext Expand Oslo (Oslo: PHLY) and is majority-owned by Aker Capital AS, which in turn is wholly-owned by Aker ASA (Aker). Aker is an industrial investment company that exercises active ownership to create value. Aker has ownership interests in oil and gas, renewable energy and green technologies, maritime assets, marine biotechnology and industrial software, and its portfolio includes companies like Aker BP, Aker Horizons, Aker BioMarine, Cognite, and Aker Solutions. For more information about Philly Shipyard, visit www.phillyshipyard.com.

About Maine Maritime Academy

Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 22 programs of study in engineering, management, science, and transportation to promote the maritime interests of the United States. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented degree programs. The job placement rate for MMA graduates is approximately 90 percent within 90 days of graduation with very high paying jobs. The college is consistently recognized for providing a high-value education by organizations such as the Brookings Institution, U.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine. The 2022 Report by Georgetown University ranked MMA #1 among all public colleges for return on investment for low-income students at public bachelor’s degree institutions. For more information, visit mainemaritime.edu.


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