PHILADELPHIA, February 9, 2024 – TOTE Services, LLC, (TOTE Services), Philly Shipyard, Inc., (Philly Shipyard) and California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) today celebrated the cutting of steel for the fifth National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) destined for Cal Maritime in Vallejo, California. This ceremonial event signifies the start of construction for the vessel and occurred at Philly Shipyard’s plasma cutting machine as the button was pressed to start the plasma steel cutting process.

This event marks an exciting stage and milestone in the construction of the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) NSMV program. This is the last steel cutting ceremony for five contracted vessels slated to be constructed for the program. The NSMV program is designed to provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platforms for five state maritime academies in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas, and California, respectively. In addition to providing best-in-class training for America’s future mariners, the five NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need. The fifth vessel is contracted for delivery in 2026 to the Academy in California.

In May 2019, MARAD awarded TOTE Services a contract to be the Vessel Construction Manager (VCM) for the NSMV program. Since then, the innovative VCM contract structure has proven to be an effective model in which the government benefits from commercial best practices to design and construct vessels that are built by union labor in a U.S. shipyard with U.S.-made steel and U.S.-made engines.  

“We’ve reached a historic milestone with the cutting of steel for this ship that will be used to train future cadets at the California State University Maritime Academy,” said TOTE Services President Jeff Dixon. “We’re grateful for the widespread, bipartisan support the NSMV program has received to help make this significant investment in the U.S. maritime industry possible.” 

Construction of the NSMVs will recapitalize our nation’s maritime training fleet, strengthen America’s industrial base, and directly support more than 1,300 shipyard jobs in Philadelphia.

“We are proud to welcome California State University Maritime Academy to our shipyard to celebrate the start of construction of its new training vessel, together,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO of Philly Shipyard. “This is a special moment and major milestone in their history, and for the NSMV program, and it is a significant moment for Philly Shipyard. Thank you to our partners, suppliers and advocates for your support, and thank you to all of the shipbuilders who will support bringing this vessel to life for Cal Maritime.”

“This moment represents the culmination of efforts from across our university community, industry partners, congressional delegation and many others who have been instrumental in pushing this forward,” said Michael J. Dumont, interim president of California State University Maritime Academy. “We appreciate those in Congress and the U.S. Maritime Administration for recognizing Cal Maritime’s contributions to addressing the nation’s critical needs. NSMV V will undoubtedly aid in our mission of serving as a leading educational institution recognized for academic excellence and unique maritime training opportunities in California, the Pacific Rim and beyond. We also extend our thanks to the employees of Philly Shipyard and TOTE Services in making this remarkable vessel a reality.” 

Construction of four of the vessels are well underway and are in various stages of production at Philly Shipyard following the delivery of NSMV I, Empire State, to SUNY Maritime College in September 2023. NSMV II, Patriot State, is undergoing testing and commissioning, NSMV III, State of Maine, is preparing for launch, and NSMV IV, Lone Star State, just celebrated its Keel Laying on December 6, 2023 and had engines installed in the engine room units.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) NSMV program is designed to provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art training platform for the state maritime academies in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas, and California, respectively.

This next-generation training fleet will address a critical shortage of qualified officers necessary to crew government and commercial owned sealift ships. In addition to providing world-class training for America’s future mariners, the NSMVs will be available to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in times of need.

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.

Vessel specifications:

  • Length: 159.85 m
  • Breadth: 27.00 m
  • Draft, scantling: 7.50 m
  • Total berthing: 760 people
  • Speed: 18 kts
  • Deadweight: 8,487 MT



TOTE Services, LLC (“TOTE Services”) is a leading U.S.-based ship management company that provides crewing and technical services to meet the needs of commercial, privately owned and U.S. Government vessels. Since 2015, TOTE Services has overseen construction and management of the world’s first LNG powered container ships, activated U.S. training ships to support disaster relief and managed multiple MARAD vessels. TOTE Services, along with TOTE Maritime Alaska, LLC and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, LLC, are part of TOTE Group, LLC. TOTE Group is a member of the Saltchuk family of companies.

For more information about TOTE Services, please visit



Philly Shipyard, Inc. (PSI) is a leading U.S. shipbuilder that is presently pursuing a mix of commercial and government work. It possesses a state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility and has earned a reputation as a preferred provider of oceangoing merchant vessels with a track record of delivering quality ships, having delivered around 50% of all large ocean-going Jones Act commercial ships since 2000. PSI is the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA. Philly Shipyard ASA is listed on the Euronext Expand Oslo (Oslo: PHLY) and is majority-owned by Aker Capital AS, which in turn is wholly-owned by Aker ASA (Aker). Aker is an industrial investment company that exercises active ownership to create value. Aker has ownership interests in oil and gas, renewable energy and green technologies, maritime assets, marine biotechnology, and industrial software, and its portfolio includes companies like Aker BP, Aker Horizons, Aker BioMarine, Cognite, and Aker Solutions.

For more information about Philly Shipyard, please visit



Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus offers undergraduate degrees that prepare students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.