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TS Empire State VI

USTS Empire State VI
United States
Name: TS Empire State VI
Owner: U.S. Maritime Administration
Operator: SUNY Maritime College
Ordered: February 29, 1960
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Yard number: 552
Laid down: March 1, 1961
Launched: September 16, 1961
Acquired: April 19, 1962
Homeport: Fort Schuyler, The Bronx, New York City, New York
Honors and
U.S. Maritime Administrator's Award of Merit
Fate: Training Vessel State University of New York Maritime College
Status: Ready Reserve Fleet
General characteristics
Class and type: Modified C4-S-1u commercial breakbulk freighter, Training Ship/Troopship
Displacement: 17,000 long tons (17,273 t)
Length: 565 ft (172.2 m)
Beam: 76 ft (23 m)
Height: 137 ft 11.5 in (42.050 m) from keel to radar mast
Draft: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Foster Wheeler Type D steam boilers, steam turbines, single screw
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 791 (684 cadets, 107 officers/crew)
Time to activate: 10 days

USTS Empire State VI (T-AP-1001), callsign KKFW, IMO number 5264510, is a troop ship of the United States Navy and training vessel of the United States Maritime Service.

Construction and early years

Empire State VI was originally built for States Steamship Company in Newport News, Virginia at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company as a MARAD Type C4-S-1u[1] break bulk cargo freighter. She was delivered to the States Lines on 19 April 1962 as the SS Oregon, a name she kept until the vessel was purchased February 15, 1977 by Moore McCormack Lines who renamed the vessel Mormactide. She went to United States Lines in 1983 when USL purchased MML. Although not the last private owner of the vessel, Moore McCormack Lines was the last company to operate Empire State before being entered into government service, as USL only operated container ships.[citation needed]

Government service

In 1986 the last private owner of the vessel, United States Lines, went bankrupt and turned over Mormactide to the Federal Government's Maritime Administration (MARAD). She was originally designated to be converted to an ammunition ship, USNS Cape Junction (T-AK-507?). Meanwhile, the vessel was laid up in the James River, National Defense Reserve Fleet, Fort Eustis, Virginia. In 1988 Mormactide was taken to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and underwent a conversion to a Training Ship at Bay Shipbuilding Corporation. After the conversion Mormactide was renamed Empire State VI. She was delivered to the State University of New York Maritime College at Fort Schuyler[2] on New Year's Eve in 1989 to replace the slightly older Empire State V.[3]

In 1994 Empire State VI was activated by MARAD to support the withdrawal of American troops from Mogadishu, Somalia. In the 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita which devastated the Gulf Coast, MARAD again activated Empire State VI.[4] The vessel provided housing and support for port workers and petroleum industry workers as they began repairs on strategic infrastructure and facilities in Louisiana.[5]

In the fall of 2012, after Hurricane Sandy struck the New York/New Jersey area, the college offered the vessel to billet AmeriCorps - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Corps and FEMA workers, from outside the region.[6] SS Wright and TS Kennedy were also used to house FEMA workers, and between them the three ships housed 1,200 workers.

In September 2017, following the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast of the United States, MARAD again activated the ship in order to provide support for FEMA's operations in Texas.[7] However, after subsequent hurricanes made landfall in Florida and Puerto Rico the vessel was diverted to provide relief in the ports of Key West and San Juan, while in San Juan, the ship provided housing and meals to FEMA workers.[8]

Training voyage

Empire State VI underway on its 2015 training voyage on May 11, 2015.

Each summer Empire State VI is activated for a 100-day training voyage. Students in the Regiment of Cadets operate the vessel for a summer sea term as part of their training requirements. The vessel began its 2019 voyage on May 6.[9] In March 2019 the college announced the appointment of Captain Morgan McManus, SUNY Maritime College 1992 graduate, as the vessel's new master.[10]

The ship holds the record as the longest serving power-driven vessel ever used by the school. While in very good condition given her age she still has a steam power plant while diesel power has long been the industry standard. Her emissions also exceed international standards and this has affected her training itineraries. In 2015 a Congressional committee examined the cost of replacing the vessels of the six maritime academies where the average vessel age was 35 years, and Empire State was the oldest at 53 years.[11] In March 2018 the US federal budget included funding to replace the aging training vessels with a National Security Multi-Mission Vessel design which are expected to enter service in 2022.[12]


  1. ^ "Ships Built to MARAD Designs". Tim Colton, Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Ft. Schuyler, NY". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ "TS Empire State (T-AP 1001)". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Hurricane Relief - Massachusetts Maritime Academy Training Ship Kennedy Deployed". 2012-11-02. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  5. ^ "Mariners Weather Log, December 2006". NOAA Voluntary Observing Ship Program. 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  6. ^ Corey Kilgannon (2012-12-11). "After Storm Work, a Night's Rest on Water". Bronx, New York: New York Times. p. A30. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Among the things he has had to forgo are computer games, because Wi-Fi and electrical outlets are scant on the ship. "I had to go cold turkey," said Mr. Baas, who is working as a FEMA outreach worker.
  7. ^ "Maritime Administration Mobilizes National Defense Reserve Fleet Vessels in Support of Hurricane Harvey | SUNY Maritime College". Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  8. ^ "SUNY Maritime ship returns from providing aid in Puerto Rico". Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Training Ship Empire State VI — KKFW — position and weather". Training Ship Empire State VI — KKFW — position and weather. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  10. ^ "Captain McManus Appointed as Master of the T/S Empire State VI". SUNY Maritime College. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  11. ^ Tyler, David A. (May 30, 2015). "Federal officials ponder new training ships for state academies". Professional Mariner. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Budget Deal Includes New Training Ships for U.S. Academies". Maritime Executive. March 23, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.

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