On 21st January the keel for the first of two LNG powered, combination container/RoRo ships for Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group was laid during a ceremony at ship-builder VT Halter Marine Inc.’s facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

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 on 22nd October. These Commitment Class ships have been designed to maximize the carriage of 53-foot containers, which offer the most cubic cargo capacity in the trade. The ships will be 219.5m long, 32.3m wide, have a draught of 10m and an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500 tonnes. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Ro-Ro garage. The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fuelled by LNG.

The Commitment Class, Jones Act ships will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet in the South Atlantic trade, which have served continuously and with distinction since the early 1970s. The new ships will be named El Coquí (ko-kee) and Taíno (tahy-noh) and are scheduled for deliveryin 2017.

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