Mississippi-based shipyard VT Halter Marine has started construction of Crowley Maritime’s second of two combination container roll-on / roll-off (ConRo) ships, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The two Commitment-class, Jones Act ships named El Coquí and Taíno, are intended for the company’s liner services group.
Puerto Rico liner services senior vice-president and general manager John Hourihan said: "Like our customers, we have been waiting with great anticipation for construction to begin on the Taíno, and we look forward to the day in the near future that they will begin service between the US mainland and Puerto Rico.
"These new ships embody superior technology, and will offer enhanced performance and safety while setting new standards for environmentally responsible shipping."
The new vessels were designed by Warstila Ship Design in collaboration with Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary of Crowley, Jensen Maritime.
The 219.5m-long and 32.3m-wide ships will have a deep draft of 10m and deadweight capacity of around 26,500 metric tonnes. The vessels will be able to carry 2,400TEU of cargo and nearly 400 vehicles.
These ConRo ships will ensure low emissions, increased speed and capacity, and optimised vehicle shipping decks. They will be capable of cruising at speeds of up to 22k.
El Coquí and Taíno are expected to be delivered in the second and fourth quarter of 2017 respectively.
For the construction of these vessels, VT Halter Marine received a contract worth $350m fromCrowley Maritime in November 2013.
Image: Taíno steel cutting process. Photo: courtesy of Crowley Maritime Corporation.