Marine Link
Sunday, July 14, 2024

NSMV Empire State Suffers Technical Issues

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 8, 2024

NSMV Empire State (Photo: SUNY Maritime College)

NSMV Empire State (Photo: SUNY Maritime College)

The first in a series if brand new training ships for the U.S.' state maritime academies has had to alter course on its inaugural summer training voyage after running into technical issues. 

The National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) Empire State, built by Philly Shipyard and delivered to SUNY Maritime Academy in September 2023, made it through about half of the 2024 summer sea term before the problems arose, SUNY Maritime College president Admiral John Okon said in a message to the school community.

"When the ship departed from Port Canaveral to Portsmouth, U.K., last Saturday [June 30], all fuel oil purifiers and fuel systems were working normally, and the fuel system had full redundancy. A discovery made yesterday [July 4] during routine maintenance revealed this was no longer the case," Okon said. 

"The ship's team took 24 hours to troubleshoot and assess the best options to continue the training cruise. At no time did the ship lose propulsion, and the redundant system works as designed," Okon added.

The ship's master, Captain Morgan McManus, discussed the situation with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the college leadership before opting to cancel the scheduled Portsmouth port call and return to the western Atlantic.

The change in plans, Okon said, allow MARAD, the vessel construction manager TOTE Services, shipbuilder Philly Shipyard, and the original equipment manufacturer to provide better troubleshooting and maintenance repair support. "This change eliminates the risk of not getting timely support for the ship to a foreign port, and also allows MARAD the opportunity to continue troubleshooting the ongoing problem with IT networks," he explained.

Empire State is currently headed to Portland, Maine, to continue the 2024 summer sea term, which began on June 10. So far, the voyage had covered more than 5,800 nautical miles.

Each year, cadets at U.S. maritime academies sail aboard the academies' training vessels as a means to gain hands-on training and accrue sea time required for earning a U.S. Coast Guard license.

Empire State is the first in a series of five new vessels ordered by MARAD for this purpose. The series' second ship, Patriot State, is expected to be delivered to Massachusetts Maritime Academy later this year, followed by Maine Maritime Academy's State of Maine and Texas A&M University at Galveston's Lone Star State in 2025. The final vessel, Golden State, will be handed over to California State University Maritime Academy in 2026.

Each of the five purpose-built NSMVs will feature instructional spaces, a full training bridge and space for up to 600 cadets. In addition, each ship features modern hospital facilities, a helicopter pad and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. The NSMVs can also provide roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.