Spending bill includes funds for Cal Maritime NSMV

(VALLEJO, Calif.) — The California State University Maritime Academy celebrated an important milestone Tuesday in its journey to acquire a new and purpose-built training ship when President Biden signed H.R. 2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. The $1.5 billion omnibus appropriations package includes a funding provision for the academy’s new national security multi-mission vessel (NSMV).

Cal Maritime’s new ship is the fifth in a fleet of training vessels specifically designed for the state maritime academies. NSMVs are highly capable, modern and versatile, which will elevate the level of training and shipboard experience for those aboard. The newly funded vessel, which will replace the aging training ship Golden Bear, is expected to be delivered within the next three to five years.

Maritime Administration photo

President Tom Cropper called it a historic moment for Cal Maritime.

“We are grateful for the funding of this new ship,” he said. “This moment is remarkable – it culminates eight years of work by the Consortium of State Maritime Academies and for the first time, provides brand-new training vessels for our cadets. Today is a great day to be a Keelhauler.”

The new ships are designed to provide professional training for future mariners as well as to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

“On behalf of the Maritime Administration (MarAd), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Biden-Harris administration, we are extremely pleased to receive funding for the fifth national security multi-mission vessel,” said Acting Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “This investment represents a steadfast commitment to our maritime workforce development and our national security. The construction and delivery of these vessels also demonstrates a highly innovative and cost-effective shipbuilding program that has enabled government to draw on industry best practices.”

The 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. Collectively, the six state maritime academies graduate nearly 70 percent 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. The ships are also designed to answer the nation’s call when crisis hits.

The funding and ultimate delivery of the vessels comes after a longtime partnership that includes MarAd administrators, state maritime academy presidents and legislators — all recognizing the critical need for excellence in maritime education as well as the increasing needs for disaster and humanitarian assistance at sea.

Fabrication of the first NSMV, designated for SUNY Maritime College with a 2023 completion, is underway. The next three ships are designated for Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy, respectively.

The current training ships and the new NSMVs are owned by the federal government and part of MarAd’s National Defense Reserve Fleet, on custodial loan to the state maritime academies.

The five new ships are being fabricated Philly Shipyard under the auspices of TOTE Services.

– California State University Maritime Academy


By Rich Miller