Work begins on 3rd training vessel at shipyard

Photo by Matt Cassidy

Work has begun on building the third National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, marking a manufacturing milestone at the Philly Shipyard.

Philly Shipyard Inc. and TOTE Services, LLC made the announcement on July 11 during a steel-cutting ceremony, which signaled the beginning of the next chapter for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program.

The new ship, which is designed to provide a platform for state-of-the-art training for state maritime academies, is expected to be delivered to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.

Construction of the first two vessels is already underway and they are scheduled for delivery in New York and Massachusetts in 2023 and 2024, respectively, while the fourth and fifth vessels are contracted for Texas and California.

“We’ve reached a historic milestone with the cutting of steel for this ship that will be used to train future cadets at the Maine 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.”

Vessels are made domestically with U.S.-made steel. It has supported 1,300 shipyard jobs in Philadelphia. The original contract was awarded to the Philly Shipyard in 2019, and the fifth vessel was added three months ago.

“Just over two years ago, we received the initial order from TOTE Services for two NSMVs, which officially ended our production gap and breathed new life into our shipyard,” said Steinar Nerbovik, president and CEO, Philly Shipyard. “Today, we proudly cut steel on a vessel destined for the docks of Maine Maritime, and add a third ship to the active production lines within our yard. I want to thank everyone involved with this project to date and look forward to seeing the cadets welcome their new training vessel in 2024.”

The third vessel 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. 

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 on humanitarian missions. It will provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.

More than half of all new officers each year graduate from state maritime academies. They are the merchant mariners who help keep cargoes and the economy moving. Many also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

Each new ship will provide world-class training for the country’s future mariners and will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

“This historic day has been years in the making and – thanks to the efforts of the Maine

congressional delegation – we’re proud to now celebrate the start of construction of the State of Maine training vessel – which will help elevate our nation’s maritime interests and readiness for global humanitarian assistance,” said Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry Paul. “We look forward to welcoming this world-class, state-of-the-art vessel to its future home in Castine, Maine and its place in U.S. maritime history.”