TSES VI - SS Mooremactide
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 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.
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 on New Year's Eve in 1989 to replace the slightly older Empire State V.
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. The vessel provided housing and support for port workers and petroleum industry workers as they began repairs on strategic infrastructure and facilities in Louisiana.
In November 2012 the Empire State VI was activated by the Department of Defense to provide housing and support for over 400 New York City/New Jersey area first responders and FEMA SCF Personnel after Hurricane Sandy impacted the region.
Empire State VI is currently under the command of SUNY Maritime College alumnus Captain Richard S. Smith. Captain Smith is also the Commandant of Cadets at the Maritime College.
With over twenty 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 through at least 2014.
In the fall of 2012, after Hurricane Sandy struck the New York - New Jersey area, the college offered the vessel to billet FEMA workers, from outside the region. The New York Times described conditions as "spartan", with narrow bunks stacked three high, and limited access to electrical outlets and wifi. 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.