The Modern Maritime Ships Program You Never Heard of is Ticking Right Along

We’ve talked about the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) several times over the past decade and are happy to report that the first two (of six) are under construction– with one even in the water.


Yup, as you may know, in addition to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Maritime Administration supports several four-year schools that produce sea-going merchant and USCGR/USNR officers. These six schools include the California State University Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy, and the State University of New York Maritime College.

However, these schools have long used second- (or third- or fourth-) hand seagoing vessels that in some cases date back to the 1960s and do not reflect any modern U.S.-flagged merchant vessel afloat.

Well, the NSMV looks to fix that with a standard type that five of the six (all but Great Lakes) maritime schools can use to mint new merchie and reserve officers, trained on something a little more contemporary.

While designed as a peacetime training ship with a 100-member crew and space for up to 600 cadets, the vessels would also be equipped for disaster relief or wartime use as a troopship.

They have a Roll-on/Roll-off side ramp, container space and cranes, modern engineering (integrated electric drive propulsion system, similar to cruise ships worldwide) and communications suites, an MH-60-rated helipad, as well as the ability to house as many as 1,000 in a pinch and the ability to enter small coastal ports due to a shallow (under 25 foot) maximum draft– with thrusters able to dock without tug support.

That’s a high superstructure but the NSMV can accommodate up to 1,000, making it a sort of cross between a budget cruise ship and a RO/RO merchant

They have their own cargo handling facilities and a RO/RO sideramp. They have a RoRo space aft with a length of about 40 m (130 ft), a width inside framing of 24 m (80 ft), and clear height of at least 4.7 m (15.3 ft). The usable deck area is about 1,000 sq. m. (10,700 sq. ft.). Suitable for about 10 x 40 ft trailers with 26 autos or about 49 autos/light trucks. The total container capacity is about 64 TEU for two highs, provided the helipad is not in use.

And a helipad that is optimized for MH-60 types


Length o.a.: 524.5 ft.
Beam: 88.6 ft.
Draft: 21.4 ft.
Design service speed: 18 knots/15% sea margin
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Propulsion: Diesel Electric
Propulsion engines: 4 x Diesel Generators
Total installed Power: 15,680 kW
Propellers: 1 propeller, fixed pitch
Rudders: 1 flap type rudder on centerline
Fuel: Single fuel – marine gas oil (MGO), max Sulfur content 0.1%
Bow Thruster: retractable combi type – tunnel thruster in up position, azimuthing thruster in down position, “Take Home” source of power, 1450 kW
Stern Thruster: Tunnel type, 890 kW
Fuel Consumption: 60 tons/day @ 18 knots, 26 tons/day at 12 knots
Fresh Water (including sanitary water): 35 gal/day per person for 700 = 93 tons + 5 tons Ship Service FW = 98 tons/day
Fuel range: About 11,000 nm range @ 18 knots design speed with 10% remaining fuel
Food & Stores: 60 days food storage for 700 persons, 297 sq. m. (3,200 sq. ft.) reefer provisions, 240 sq. m. (2,580 sq. ft.) dry provisions
Propulsion motors: 2 x 4,500 kW propulsion motors. Motors in separate watertight compartments.

The best news on this is that the first ship of the class, the SUNY Maritime College’s newly built Empire State VII, was launched at Philly Shipyard two weeks ago. Empire State will be completed and delivered to SUNY Maritime College in 2023.

The second NSMV, the planned Patriot State, is scheduled to be delivered to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2024 and just had her keel laid at Philly last week.

Philly is set to deliver all five NSMVs by 2026 at a cost of about $250 million per hull.

One comment

  • Side Ramps are rated for ~40-tons! Unfortunately it isn’t specific to which Tonnage, “Metric” or “Short”…

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