TS Lone Star State

Keel Laying Ceremony Steeped In Tradition


On December 6, the Texas A&M Maritime Academy and Texas A&M University at Galveston will celebrate the keel laying of the new training ship, Lone Star State . This milestone marks the start of construction for the fourth National Security Multi-mission Vessel (NSMV). After the start of fabrication , which was celebrated in January of this year, this is the next marker in the ship building process.

“Dating back to ancient times, this mariner tradition, like many mariner traditions, is to invite good luck,” said Captain Allan Post, deputy superintendent for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy and executive director of Marine Education Support and Safety Operations at the Galveston campus. “The coins are said to offer good fortune through the construction process and then throughout the life of the vessel.”

Post continued, “An industry rooted in tradition, it’s custom that every ship constructed for service be honored on several historical ceremonial occasions such as the keel laying.”

In keeping with tradition, the ceremony attendees, including cadets from the maritime academy and Galveston campus chief operating officer and superintendent of the academy RADM Michael E. Fossum, will place several commemorative coins on the keel block. Philly Shipyard will hold the ceremony in their dry dock in Philadelphia. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the shipyard, including the second NSMV, the TS  Patriot State , which is bound for Massachusetts Maritime Academy next year. 

In December 2020, Congress approved $325 million in funding to construct the NSMV IV. The 524-foot state-of-the-art ship represents a significant investment by the federal government in supporting the future of the maritime industry and future merchant mariners in Texas. The ship will feature instructional spaces, a full training bridge and space for up to 600 cadets to train at sea. In addition, each ship will have modern hospital facilities, a helicopter pad and the ability to accommodate up to 1,000 people in times of humanitarian need. The NSMVs can also provide needed roll-on/roll-off and container storage capacity for use during disaster relief missions. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration anticipates delivery of the Lone Star State to campus in 2025. 

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