Philly Shipyard cuts steel for Cal Maritime training vessel

(PHILADELPHIA) — TOTE Services, Philly Shipyard and California State University Maritime Academy on Friday celebrated the cutting of steel for the fifth national security multi-mission vessel (NSMV), which is destined for Cal Maritime in Vallejo, Calif.

This ceremonial event signifies the start of construction for the ship and occurred at Philly Shipyard’s plasma-cutting machine as the button was pressed to start the process.

The event is also a milestone for the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd), being the last steel-cutting ceremony for five contracted vessels slated to be constructed for the NSMV program. The program is designed to provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platforms for five state maritime academies in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas and California, respectively.

U.S. Maritime Administration photo

In addition to providing best-in-class training for America’s future mariners, the five NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need. The fifth vessel is contracted for delivery in 2026 to Cal Maritime.

In May 2019, MarAd awarded TOTE Services a contract to be the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program. Since then, the innovative VCM contract structure has proven to be an effective model in which the government benefits from commercial best practices to design and construct vessels that are built by union labor in a U.S. shipyard with U.S.-made steel and U.S.-made engines.

“We’ve reached a historic milestone with the cutting of steel for this ship that will be used to train future cadets at the California State University Maritime Academy,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “We’re grateful for the widespread, bipartisan support the NSMV program has received to help make this significant investment in the U.S. maritime industry possible.”

Construction of the NSMVs will recapitalize the nation’s maritime training fleet, strengthen America’s industrial base, and directly support more than 1,300 shipyard jobs in Philadelphia.

“We are proud to welcome California State University Maritime Academy to our shipyard to celebrate the start of construction of its new training vessel, together,” said Steinar Nerbovik, president and CEO of Philly Shipyard. “This is a special moment and major milestone in their history, and for the NSMV program, and it is a significant moment for Philly Shipyard. Thank you to our partners, suppliers and advocates for your support, and thank you to all of the shipbuilders who will support bringing this vessel to life for Cal Maritime.”

“This moment represents the culmination of efforts from across our university community, industry partners, congressional delegation and many others who have been instrumental in pushing this forward,” said Michael J. Dumont, interim president of California State University Maritime Academy. “We appreciate those in Congress and the U.S. Maritime Administration for recognizing Cal Maritime’s contributions to addressing the nation’s critical needs. NSMV V will undoubtedly aid in our mission of serving as a leading educational institution recognized for academic excellence and unique maritime training opportunities in California, the Pacific Rim and beyond. We also extend our thanks to the employees of Philly Shipyard and TOTE Services in making this remarkable vessel a reality.”

Construction of four of the vessels is well underway and they are in various stages of production at Philly Shipyard following the delivery of NSMV I, Empire State, to SUNY Maritime College in September. NSMV II, Patriot State, is undergoing testing and commissioning; NSMV III, State of Maine, is preparing for launch; and NSMV IV, Lone Star State, celebrated its keel laying on Dec. 6 and had engines installed in the engine room units.

About the NSMV Program

This next-generation training fleet will address a critical shortage of qualified officers necessary to crew government- and commercial-owned sealift ships.

The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces, a full training bridge, and have space 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 the economy moving. Many also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

In addition to being a state-of-the-art training and educational platform, each ship will feature modern hospital facilities, a helicopter pad, and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. Adding to the NSMV’s capability, it will provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.

Vessel specifications:

• Length: 524.4 feet
• Breadth: 88.5 feet
• Draft, scantling: 24.6 feet
• Total berthing: 760 people
• Speed: 18 knots
• Deadweight: 8,487 MT

– Philly Shipyard

By Professional Mariner Staff