TOTE Services LLC and Philly Shipyard Inc. held a keel laying ceremony Monday for the third of five new purpose-built, state-of-the-art training vessels for state maritime academies.

The Maritime Administration’s National Security Multimission Vessels (NSMVs) are designed to provide world-class training for future U.S. mariners and to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

The third NSMV is scheduled to be delivered to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024.

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 reached another great shipbuilding milestone for our shipyard and the NSMV program as a whole,” Steinar Nerbovik, president and CEO of Philly Shipyard, said in his remarks. “At the moment, we have three vessels taking shape in our docks and a fourth being fabricated in our production shops.”

“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.

Marad selected TOTE Services to be the vessel construction manager (VCM) for the NSMV program in 2019. TOTE Services is overseeing development of these new vessels. In 2020, TOTE awarded Philly Shipyard a contract to construct up to five NSMVs. These ships will be owned and operated by Marad.

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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