Mass. Maritime Academy History of T.S. Patriot State
Massachusetts Maritime Academy's training vessel, the Patriot State, came to the academy in 1985. She is the latest in a line of training vessels stretching back to the Enterprise in 1893. The Patriot State, originally named Santa Mercedes, was built in 1965 as a single screw cargo passenger vessel for Grace Line, Inc. The design is a C4-S1-49a. The vessel was built at the Sparrows Point Shipyard of Bethlehem Steel Company at Baltimore, Maryland. The Santa Magdalena, the first of the class, was delivered to Grace Line on February 4, 1965. She was the first of four cargo-passenger ships of remarkably modern and progressive design. The sister vessels included the Santa Mariana, Santa Maria, Santa Mercedes and were destined to play an important role in promoting closer ties within the Americas, carrying passengers and cargo between Atlantic Coast ports in the United States and the Canal Zone, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. The ships were designed by George G. Sharp Co., naval architects and engineers of New York. From the beginning, the Grace Line management desired, as the major design objective, to achieve increased efficiency by lowering cargo handling time and costs. An operations analysis of the trade route was made by Sharp to determine the characteristics of the cargo moving on the route and to establish the feasibility of mechanical handling of cargo in units. This operations analysis included a detail study of the cargo commodities transported on the route and included analyses of weight, dimensions, net cubic, gross cubic, port of origin, port of destination and a classification of the cargo concerning its susceptibility to unitization. Trends in cargo carryings were analyzed and, in conjunction with trade forecasts prepared by Grace economists, were projected into the future. The port conditions, which would have an effect upon the design of the cargo-handling system and the ship, also received careful attention. The southbound cargo was generally manufactured goods of approximately the following composition:
                                                   Percent by       
                                                Volume    Weight    
1.      Bagged and packaged cargo suitable      41.5      44.8      
        for containers or pallets                                   
2.      Machinery, knocked-down automobile      22.7      30.1      
        units, drums, newsprint, etc. having                        
        dimensions less than that of a                              
3.      Vehicles smaller than container size    15.8      3.5       
4.      Vehicles and machinery larger than      9.8       6.2       
        container size                                              
5.      Steel pipe, rails, etc. less than 35    4.5       8.2       
        feet in length                                              
6.      Steel pipe, rails, etc., exceeding 35   0.7       3.6       
        feet in length                                              
7.      Large items                             3.7       2.2       
8.      Lifts over 20 tons                      1.3       1.4       
        Total                                   100.0     100.0     
The northbound cargo had different characteristics, and it was obvious from a review of the commodity listings and packaging data that practically all could be handled by unitized and bulk-handling systems. This cargo included a large amount of bananas and other refrigerated cargo. Comparisons of the cargo moving in each direction were made to select the proportion of space to be adapted for containers, pallets, trays, bananas, etc. Analyses were made of year-to-year and voyage-to-voyage variations to determine the flexibility required. With information thus developed on the characteristics of the cargo, preliminary studies were made of various ship arrangements and systems for handling and stowing of the cargo. The results of these studies indicated the desirability of providing the following:
  1. Refrigerated `tween deck spaces for the carriage of about 90,000 stems of bananas which would be loaded and unloaded by conveyors. In the other direction, these spaces having a clear height of slightly more than 7 feet would be suitable for palletized cargo or vehicles having a height of less than 7 feet.
  2. Space for containers for carrying about 200,000 cu. ft. of cargo.
  3. Capacity of about 1,500 tons of bulk liquid cargo in various sized tanks.
  4. An upper `tween deck with a clear height of about 4 feet in order to provide for the stowage of higher vehicles and rough cargo.
  5. Gantry cranes for handling 17- or 20-ft. containers, and of such a design that two could be married to handle 40 ft. containers.
  6. Automobiles to be driven on and off and handled within the ship by means of elevators.
  7. Pallets to be handled by a mechanized system with a high handling rate especially designed for use in the refrigerated `tween deck spaces. The integration of these requirements, along with the requirements for passengers and public spaces, led to the design of the Santa Magdalena and her sister ships containing the most varied and the most modern mechanical cargo-handling systems to be incorporated in any ship. The systems include large overhead cranes for containers, sideporters, horizontal and vertical conveyors and elevators, each designed to perform a different cargo-handling function, but all systems to work together as a simple complex.
The Santa Mercedes was obtained by the Maritime Administration in the spring of 1984 for conversion to a training ship for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Conversion was accomplished in two phases. The activation phase, including changing the ship's name, was accomplished by the Triple A Shipyard in San Francisco. The vessel was then towed to Bender Shipyard, Mobile, Alabama for the conversion phase. On 7 September 1985, the Patriot State was turned over to the Academy.

The following year, four hold was opened up for use by installing the stair tower, fire stations, and a watertight door to provide access to the B-deck cross passageway. The facilities in four hold, including the machine shop, maintenance training lab, classrooms, spare parts storage, and gym were all constructed by cadets. In 1993 an extensive upgrade of cadet berthing facilities was begun with the installation of heads, showers, lockers and bunks in three hold D-Deck. The habitability improvments of the berthing spaces were completed in 1997, when the improvments were extended to C and B-decks. The same year, control-desuperheaters were installed in the propulsion boilers. These devices permit the boilers to produce more steam and the ship to increase its top speed without exceeding allowable superheated steam temperatures.