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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 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.
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 on New Year's Eve in 1989 to replace the slightly older Empire State V.
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. 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 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. 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.. 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.
Information from wikipedia.