Philly Shipyard to build new class of academy training ships


The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):

(WASHINGTON) — The Maritime Administration has announced that TOTE Services has selected Philly Shipyard of Philadelphia, Pa., to construct the newest class of training ship, the national security multi-mission vessel (NSMV). The shipyard will construct up to five new ships to provide world-class maritime training for America’s future mariners, and to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in times of need.

“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 Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

In May 2019, TOTE Services contracted with MarAd as the vessel construction manager to deliver one to five NSMVs. This occurred after Congress required that the NSMVs would be procured using commercial design and build practices. Following construction and delivery of the ships to TOTE Services, the vessels will be transferred to MarAd to further its historic mission of training future licensed mariners at state maritime academies, and responding to humanitarian and natural disasters for the United States.

“Investing in maritime education creates more American jobs,” said Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby. “By the selection of Philly Shipyard 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.”

The NSMV will help to sustain world-class U.S. maritime training operations at the state maritime academies by equipping young American mariners with the most modern and adaptable training platform. The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces and a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea.

Along with serving as an educational and training platform, the NSMV will also be available to uniquely support federal government efforts in response to national and international disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. In this role as a National Defense Reserve Fleet vessel, the NSMV will incorporate medical capabilities, a command and control platform, and berthing for up to 1,000 first responders and recovery workers. The vessel’s roll-on/roll-off ramp and crane to facilitate container storage capabilities will enable it to provide critical support equipment and supplies to those in need.

Additional information from Philly Shipyard:

TOTE placed an initial order with Philly Shipyard for the first two vessels (NSMVs 1 and 2), with deliveries in spring and winter 2023, and retains options for the next three vessels (NSMVs 3, 4 and 5).

The initial award is valued at approximately $630 million and supports non-recurring engineering and detail design of the NSMV class as well as procurement of equipment and materials and construction of the first two ships. If all five ships are ordered and built in series, then the total contract value of the five-ship program would be approximately $1.5 billion.

“Philly Shipyard is honored to be selected by TOTE to build these sophisticated vessels," said Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard president and CEO. "We are thankful for the trust that TOTE has placed in us, and for all of the support we have received over the last year, especially from our unions, and our local and federal stakeholders. Securing this award is a major milestone in our strategy to reposition the yard for government and commercial projects. We look forward to delivering on our promises.”

Engineering and planning work is already underway in conjunction with the shipyard’s technical partner, and final design and procurement will commence immediately with a scheduled production start on NSMV 1 in early 2021. The vessels will be owned by MarAd, which developed the initial concept for their design. Construction of the vessels will not require any third-party financing.

By Professional Mariner Staff