VT Halter Marine, Inc., a subsidiary of VT Systems, Inc., officially began construction on the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships for Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group on Wednesday, October 22.
VT Halter Marine and Crowley entered into a contract for the pair of ships in November 2013 and construction began with the first steel plate cutting in Pascagoula, Miss., yesterday morning.
John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico/Caribbean liner services said: “These new ships will embody superior technology and construction and we are anxious to get them into service for our partners in Puerto Rico.”
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 tonnes.
Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent-units), with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Ro/Ro garage.
The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fueled by environmentally-friendly LNG.
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.
The Commitment Class, Jones Act ships will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet, which has served the trade continuously and with distinction since the early 1970s.
These new ships, which will be named El Coquí (ko-kee) and Taíno (tahy-noh), are scheduled for delivery in the second and fourth quarter of 2017 respectively.