The ceremony was held at ship-builder VT Halter Marine, Inc.’s facility in Pascagoula, U.S. 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.
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, 2015. 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 TEU, 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 Commitment Class, Jones Act ships will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet in the South Atlantic trade, which has served the trade continuously and with distinction since the early 1970s.
These new ships, which will be named El Coquí (ko-kee) andTaíno (tahy-noh), will offer customers fast ocean transit times, while accommodating the company’s diverse equipment selection and cargo handling flexibility. El Coquí and Taíno are scheduled for delivery during the second and fourth quarter 2017 respectively.
The ship design is provided by Wartsila Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a leading Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.