National Security Multi-Mission Vessel Program Achieves Construction Milestone with Third Keel Laying


PHILADELPHIA – TOTE Services, LLC, an affiliate of TOTE, LLC, and Philly Shipyard, Inc., the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA, marked a significant construction milestone at a keel laying ceremony for the third of five new purpose built, state-of-the-art training vessels for America’s state maritime academies. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) new vessel program – known as National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMVs) – was designed to provide world-class training for America’s future mariners and to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

The keel laying is a ceremonial recognition in which the first grand block of the vessel is loaded into the building dock. Keel laying traditions are said to bring good luck to the ship during construction and to the captain and crew that will sail on the vessel throughout her operating life. The third NSMV is scheduled to be delivered to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.

“Today, we reached another great shipbuilding milestone for our shipyard and the NSMV program as a whole,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President & CEO of Philly Shipyard. “At the moment, we have three vessels taking shape in our docks and a fourth being fabricated in our production shops. We wish the Maine Maritime students good luck with final exam week and look forward to welcoming the cadets in a few weeks to see the progress on their new ship and to tour our yard. I want to thank everyone involved in this project as we continue on this exciting new build process.”

The NSMV program is an important investment in America’s shipbuilding industry, which supports nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs. Each 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. State maritime academies graduate more than half of all new officers each year—the merchant mariners who help keep cargoes and our economy moving. Many also support U.S. national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

“Today we celebrate the third keel laying of an NSMV vessel in 18 months, demonstrating the efficiency and success of this unique construction management program that is helping recapitalize our nation’s maritime training fleet at academies from coast to coast,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “This exciting moment shows we are one giant step closer to providing the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) a first-in-class vessel to produce the next generation of maritime officers, engineers, supply chain managers, and logisticians that will help lead our nation in the years ahead.”

MARAD selected TOTE Services to be the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program in May 2019 to ensure the utilization of best practices in commercial ship construction. As an industry leader in vessel services, ship management and marine operations, TOTE Services is overseeing development of these new vessels, which will provide a strong U.S. maritime fleet, crewed by the world’s best trained merchant mariners. In April 2020, TOTE Services awarded Philly Shipyard a contract to construct up to five NSMVs. These ships will be owned and operated by MARAD.

“Today as we celebrate the Training Ship State of Maine V’s keel laying, we also recognize her future purpose for both the Academy and our Nation. I thank all who have worked and will work to bring her to completion, especially the team at TOTE and Philly Shipyard. Thank you in advance to those future cadets and crew who will stand watch over her. Today, would not be possible without the incredible support of our Congressional Delegation, especially Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King, who have championed this national asset for our Academy and the State,” said Jerry S. Paul, Maine Maritime Academy President.

Congress has appropriated funding to replace aging training vessels with NSMVs at SUNY Maritime College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy and California State University Maritime, respectively.

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