Empire State VII, the first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, christened at Philly Shipyard

<em>Empire State VII</em>, the first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, christened at Philly Shipyard

On June 26, the U.S. Maritime Administration, elected officials and maritime labor leaders joined in the christening of the first of five National Security Multi-Mission vessels at Philly Shipyard in Philadelphia.

The Empire State VII will be delivered to the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College as the university’s new cadet training vessel later this summer and will replace its 60-year-old predecessor.

“Today’s christening of the EMPIRE STATE is a powerful statement about the impact of a strong domestic shipbuilding policy and the potential for our nations hard working shipbuilders to rise to the challenges we face today,” said Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), one of the major advocates for the NSMV program.

“At a time when many are rightly focused on the need to restore domestic manufacturing and shipbuilding, the National Multi-Mission Vessel program is an example of where Congress, specifically the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, has successfully acted to do something to meet our nation’s shipbuilding demands. As a result, the Maritime Administration and the Philly Shipyard will deliver five US-built ships that are largely on time and on budget. This is a dramatic change in pace as, just a few short years ago, prior to Congressional action, the Philly shipyard had only a small number of employees and a nearly empty shipyard. Now, we have a proven contracting model and architecture to not only train mariners but boost our sealift program without relying on the vagaries of the foreign market.”

In 2019, Congress authorized funding for the construction of the new state-of-the-art vessels that will primarily serve as training ships for the next generation of mariners, but can also be called upon in cases of national emergency or national defense missions. Construction has begun on the three of the next four vessels, which will all be built at Philly Shipyard. Tote Services has contracted with the government to oversee the projects.

“Today’s event is the culmination of hard work, dedication, and overcoming many challenges. As we stand here, in front of this remarkable vessel, we are thankful for the efforts of everyone involved, and can’t wait to deliver this ship to SUNY,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard.

The 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. 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.

In addition to being a state-of-the-art training and educational platform, 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. Adding to the NSMV’s capability, it will provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions.

“This new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel is a state-of-the-art training platform, providing our cadets with a world-class education,” said Chancellor John King of the State University of New York Maritime College. “After years of advocating for an updated training ship, this NSMV is outfitted with numerous training spaces, a training bridge, labs, and an auditorium. I couldn’t be more thrilled for cadets after touring the Empire State VII.”