The U.S. Maritime Administration is seeking a vessel construction manager to oversee the building of the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, a new class of training ship that will replace aging vessels used by U.S. maritime academies.
The request for proposal issued Oct. 11 solicits potential construction managers to be selected by Marad to “contract with a qualified shipyard to ensure that commercial best practices are utilized in delivering the NSMV on time and on budget,” the agency said in announcing the RFP.
“A new multi-mission vessel built by an American Shipyard will not only create new jobs, but help train the next generation of American mariners and contribute to disaster relief,” said Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a prepared statement.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed Marad to “provide for an entity other than the Maritime Administration to contract for the construction of the NSMV.” The intent of that procurement process is to use “existing marketplace expertise” and companies experienced in the production of innovative U.S.-built ships.
There is $300 million for construction of the first two diesel-electric ships in the class, with the first to be delivered in 2022 to replace the steamship Empire State VI at the State University of New York Maritime College.
“The U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry is vital to the economic strength and security of our nation,” said Marad Administrator Mark H. Buzby, “and this project will demonstrate that American shipbuilding remains the global standard of excellence.”
The NSMVs will equip state maritime academies as training ships. The design includes instructional spaces, eight classrooms, a full training bridge, labs, and an auditorium. There will be accommodations for up to 600 cadets during sea training.
The NSMVs will be built for double duty to federal government responses to hurricanes, earthquakes and other national and international disasters. For those missions the vessels can provide hospital facilities, a landing pad to support helicopter operations, and accommodations for up to 1,000 emergency response and recovery workers. A roll-on/roll-off ramp and a crane to handle shipping containers enable the NSMV to deliver critical relief supplies at damaged ports.
Advocates for the program say it is a critical update for training a new generation of U.S. mariners and will help support the shipbuilding industry.
The agency has the RFP posted online at MARAD NSMV Vessel Construction Management (VCM)