TOTE Services LLC, Philly Shipyard Inc., and Texas A&M University at Galveston cut steel today for the fourth 524'5"x88'7"x55' national security multimission vessel (NSMV) destined for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas.

The Philadelphia-based shipyard will build up to five new ships, with 21'4" drafts. The fourth NSMV is expected to be delivered in 2025 to Texas A&M Maritime Academy. In 2019, Marad awarded TOTE Services a contract for the NSMV program.

The NSMV IV's steel cutting is another major construction milestone for the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s NSMV program, 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 to providing world-class training for future U.S. mariners, these five NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

Along with serving as an educational and training platform for future U.S. mariners, the five diesel-electric powered (four main engines in two engine rooms with a total installed power of about 19,260 hp) NSMVs will also be available to 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 (NDRF) 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.

Maneuverability will be enhanced by flap rudders, a sternthruster and bowthruster with “take home” power. Each ship will have a range of 11,000 miles at 18 knots. 

The NSMV will help to sustain world-class, U.S. maritime training operations at the state maritime academies by equipping young U.S. mariners with the most modern and adaptable training platform. The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces and a full training bridge and have space for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea.

Wabtec Corp., is providing the main propulsion engines, Cummins USA is supplying the emergency generator sets, and Bronswerk is providing the air conditioning systems.

“TOTE Services is proud to join Marad, Philly Shipyard, and the Texas A&M Aggies to celebrate the start of construction of this new vessel that will be used to help train the next generation of officers at the only maritime academy on the Gulf Coast,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “This vessel will vastly enhance Texas A&M’s degree programs and give the academy a ship that can hold its entire program in a single cruise, providing cadets the opportunity to become skilled in shiphandling, decision-making, and unexpected challenges with the type of comradery that cannot be replicated in a classroom.”

“Today, marks another significant milestone for TOTE, the Maritime Administration, and the maritime industry as whole,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips (Rear Adm. USN, Ret.). “These NSMVs will play a crucial role in the maritime industry – providing future generations of mariners a world-class platform for training and serving as an exceptional resource for emergency response and homeland security for the nation.” 

“We are proud to welcome cadets and staff from Texas A&M Maritime Academy to our shipyard in celebration of the official start of fabrication on their new training vessel,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard. “With this milestone event in the NSMV program, we now have four ships under active construction and strong backlog into the future."

Construction of the first two vessels is well underway, with contracted delivery of NSMV I to SUNY Maritime College in 2023, NSMV II to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2024, and NSMV III to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.