Mechanical issues disrupt recent voyage of SUNY Maritime College's new large training ship

Empire State SUNY Maritime College US Maritime Administration Herbert Engineering Corporation DSEC Philly Shipyard
The SUNY Maritime College training ship Empire StateSUNY Maritime College

A new training ship operated by the State University of New York Maritime College (SUNY Maritime College) has been affected by mechanical issues requiring repair during a recent voyage, the college's president said in a statement. The identified issues affected the fuel oil purifiers and fuel systems on Empire State, a National Security Multimission Vessel (NSMV), operated on behalf of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), SUNY Maritime College President Admiral John Okon said via a statement released on Friday, July 5.

Okon said that, when the ship departed from Port Canaveral to Portsmouth, UK, on July 3, all fuel oil purifiers and fuel systems were working normally, and the fuel system had full redundancy. A discovery made the following day during routine maintenance "revealed this was no longer the case."

Personnel took 24 hours to troubleshoot and assess the best options to continue the training cruise. Okon assured that at no time did the ship lose propulsion, and that the redundant system "works as designed."

After consultation with MARAD and the SUNY Maritime College leadership, Empire State's captain decided to cancel the next port of call to Portsmouth, UK, and return to the western Atlantic to allow MARAD, the vessel construction manager, the shipyard, and the original equipment manufacturer to provide better troubleshooting and maintenance repair support. Okon said this change eliminates the risk of not getting timely support for the ship to a foreign port, and also allows MARAD the opportunity to continue troubleshooting the ongoing problem with IT networks.

Empire State was completed as the first unit in a new class of training ships that will also be available to support US federal government efforts in response to national and international disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. In their roles as National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels, the NSMVs will also incorporate medical capabilities, a command and control platform, and berthing for up to 1,000 first responders and recovery workers.

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