VT Halter Marine has started construction on the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination container-roll-on / roll-off (ConRo) ships for Crowley Maritime’s liner services group.
The development follows the contract signing by the companies for two vessels in November 2013.
VT Halter Marine CEO Bill Skinner said: "VT Halter Marine is pleased and excited to announce the first steel plate cut, which launches the official start of construction for these new LNG ConRo ships.
"These vessels signify how important the Jones Act is to Americans employed in the marine industry."
The new vessels will be named El Coquí (ko-kee) and Taíno (tahy-noh), and are set to replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet. They are designed to provide fast ocean transit times for customers.
Both El Coquí and Taíno are expected to be delivered during the second and fourth quarter of 2017 respectively.
The new 219.5m-long, 32.3m-wide vessel will have a deep draft of 10m and an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500mt.
Using Wartsila’s Ship Design, it will have a cargo capacity of around 2,400TEUs with extra space for about 400 vehicles in an enclosed Ro / Ro garage, with LNG fuel being used for the main propulsion and auxiliary engines.
Wartsila is providing the ship design in collaboration with Jensen Maritime, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime.
Image: Representatives of Crowley Maritime and VT Halter Marine during the steel cutting ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Crowley Maritime Corporation.