Philly Shipyard has announced the authorization by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and subsequent order from TOTE Services for the construction of two additional national security multi-mission vessels (NSMVs).
The newbuilds will replace aging training vessels at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, and Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas.
Construction of the two new vessels — NSMVs 3 and 4 — is expected to commence in 2022 with planned deliveries in 2024.
Last year, Philly Shipyard received a contract for the first two vessels in the NSMV program.
The newest award for NSMVs 3 and 4 is valued at approximately $600 million. 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.
The vessels will be owned by MARAD, which developed the initial concept for the design. Construction of the vessels will not require any third-party financing. TOTE Services retains the option for a fifth vessel (NSMV 5).
The engineering, procurement and planning activities on NSMVs 1 and 2 are progressing in accordance with plan. The cutting of steel for the first NSMV on 15 December 2020 marked the first construction milestone in the project.
The NSMV program
The NSMV is expected to help sustain 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 with accommodation for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea. State maritime academies graduate approximately 70% 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.
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.