TS 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, 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: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 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

The vessel known today as 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 SS 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 the Empire State before being entered into government service, as USL only operated container ships.

Government service

In 1986 the last private owner of the vessel, United States Lines, went bankrupt and turned over the Mormactide to the Federal Government (MARAD). She was originally designated to be converted to an ammunition ship, the 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 the Mormactide was taken to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and underwent a conversion to a Training Ship at Bay Shipbuilding Corporation. After the conversion the Mormactide was renamed the 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 the 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 the 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] The S.S. Wright and the T.S. Kennedy were also used to house FEMA workers, and between them the three ships housed 1,200 workers.

Training voyage

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

Each summer Empire State VI is activated for a 90-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's 2016 voyage sailed from the College on May 9th and is scheduled to return on August 8th.[7]

Empire State VI is currently under the command of SUNY Maritime College alumnus Captain Richard S. Smith who is also the Commandant of Cadets at the Maritime College.[8]

With twenty five years of service to the Maritime College, the ship holds the record as the longest serving power-driven vessel ever used by the school. She is expected to remain in use until 2019 when she will be decommissioned.


  1. "Ships Built to MARAD Designs". Tim Colton, ShipbuildingHistory.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. "Ft. Schuyler, NY". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. "TS Empire State (T-AP 1001)". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. "Hurricane Relief - Massachusetts Maritime Academy Training Ship Kennedy Deployed". capenews.net. 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. "SUNY Maritime College Academic Calendar Summer 2016" (PDF). SUNY Maritime - Careers. SUNY Maritime College. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  8. "Maritime College Organizational Chart (as of 15 October 2015)" (PDF). SUNY Maritime College. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
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