Cal Maritime Secures Funding for New Training Vessel

VALLEJO — New federal funding is helping Cal Maritime Academy acquire a new, state-of-the-art training vessel.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed House of Commons Resolution 2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, a $1.5 billion omnibus appropriations package that includes a funding provision that will help the academy acquire a ship multi-mission national security.

Cal Maritime’s new ship is the fifth in a fleet of training ships specifically designed for state maritime academies, according to a press release.

For decades, academies have relied on retired and modernized warships to train their cadets. The new ship is modern and versatile, which will raise the level of training and onboard experience of those on board, according to the statement. The newly funded vessel, which will replace the aging training vessel Golden Bear, is expected to be delivered within three to five years.

Cal Maritime President Tom Cropper called it a historic moment for the university.

“We are grateful for the funding for this new vessel,” he said in the statement. “This moment is remarkable – it caps eight years of work by the Consortium of State Maritime Academies and, for the first time, provides brand new training ships for our cadets. Today is a great day to be a Keelhauler.

The new ship is designed to provide professional training for future sailors as well as support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions should the need arise.

The ship will include instructional spaces, a comprehensive training deck and accommodations for up to 600 cadets to train in a maritime academic environment at sea. Collectively, the six state maritime academies graduate nearly 70 % of all new officers each year – merchant seamen who help keep cargo and the economy moving. Many also support US national security by equipping military sealift vessels. The ships are also designed to respond to the call of the nation in times of crisis.

The funding and final delivery of the ships comes after a longstanding partnership that includes U.S. Maritime Administration administrators, presidents of state maritime academies, and legislators — all recognizing the need for excellence in the maritime education as well as the growing need for disaster and humanitarian aid at sea.

Construction of the first vessel, designated for SUNY Maritime College with completion in 2023, is already underway. The next three ships are respectively designated for Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

Current training ships and new ships are federally owned and part of the MARAD National Defense Reserve Fleet, on loan to state maritime academies.

The five new vessels are manufactured by TOTE Services, a marine and logistics operation based in Jacksonville, Florida.