The keel for the second LNG-powered, combination container ConRo ship for Crowley Maritime’s liner services group was laid at shipbuilder VT Halter Marine’s facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The keel laying ceremony marked the next step in the construction of Crowley’s two commitment class ships, which will exclusively serve the U.S.-Puerto Rico trade lane, the company said in a statement.
VT Halter Marine and Crowley entered into a contract for the pair of Jones Act ships in November 2013 and construction of the second ship began with steel cutting in Pascagoula on May 27. With the first section set in place, the ship will now begin to take shape as it is built around the keel.
The first ship’s keel laying took place in January 2015.
The Commitment Class ships have been designed to maximize the carriage of 53-foot, 102-inch-wide containers, which offer the most cubic cargo capacity in the trade. The ships will be 219.5 meters long, 32.3 meters wide (beam), have a deep draft of 10 meters, and an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500 metric tons. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent-units), with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Roll-on/Roll-off garage.
The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fueled by LNG. The vessels will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet in the South Atlantic trade, which has served the trade since the early 1970s. These new ships, which will be named El Coquí and Taíno are scheduled for delivery during the second and fourth quarter 2017 respectively.
The ship design is provided by Wartsila in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime.