Philly Shipyard Launches First Training Ship Empire State
The first in a series of new training ships being built for the United States' state maritime academies was launched at Philly Shipyard on Saturday.
The newbuild, Empire State VII, is the first of five new National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV) being built under a program for the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), which owns and operates training ships for the nation's state maritime academies.
The newly launched vessel is slated to undergo final outfitting, testing, commissioning and trials prior to delivery to SUNY Maritime College in 2023. It will replace the school's current training ship, Empire State VI, built in 1962.
MARAD's NSMV program is designed to provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platform for state maritime academies in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas and California, respectively. In addition, the five NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions when required.
In 2019, MARAD awarded TOTE Services a contract to be the Vessel Construction Manager (VCM) for the NSMV program, and Philly Shipyard secured the contract to build the first two vessels in 2020. The next two vessels in the NSMV program were ordered in 2021, followed by the fifth and final vessel earlier this year.
Each NSMV 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, each ship will feature 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 needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.