Crowley christens MV Taíno, its second LNG-powered ship
SAN JUAN – Crowley Maritime Corp. christened Friday the combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ship MV Taíno in San Juan. It is among the first of its kind to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), as is its sister Commitment Class ship MV El Coquí, which entered service in 2018.
The company invested $550 million to build the new ships that run on LNG, a cleaner fuel source, and to reduce gate turn times for its stateside-Puerto Rico trade by upgrading its infrastructure.
At its San Juan terminal in Isla Grande, the company added a 900-foot pier and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes, the first new cranes on San Juan Harbor in more than 50 years, the company proudly said, adding that it implemented a new terminal operating system and added container staging areas and handling equipment for refrigerated and dry cargo.
Clara Crowley, daughter of Crowley Maritime’s, chairman and CEO, Tom Crowley, and board member Christine Crowley, served as the ship’s sponsor and broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne on the bow of Taíno at the company’s Isla Grande Terminal before several hundred employees, customers and dignitaries.
“We are thrilled to christen this magnificent new ship here with our employees, customers and people of Puerto Rico, whom she will serve for many years to come,” said Tom Crowley. “Taíno is a source of pride for us all and in particular the men and women who built and/or crew her, many of whom are Puerto Rican.”
The ship was named Taino “for the native pre-Columbian Indians who inhabit Puerto Rico and who lived off the land with great appreciation and respect for their environment, and MV El Coquí is named for the popular indigenous frog on the island,” the company explained.
Both ships are 219.5 meters (720 feet) long, 26,500 deadweight tons (DWT), and able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) at cruising speeds of greater than 22 knots – “offering fast, 55-hour transits that reached an industry-leading on-time arrival rate of 98 percent in the past month,” the company said. “Each ship has enclosed, ventilated decks with capacity for 400 cars and large vehicles, a feature unique in the Puerto Rico trade.”
Both ships were constructed at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss., with Crowley Solutions providing the construction management services.
“This major investment, which is resulting in jobs, a positive economic impact, a cleaner environment and world-class supply chain services for Puerto Rico shippers, would not have been possible without the Jones Act,” Crowley said, referring to the U.S. law that regulates maritime commerce, requiring goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
“While the act ensures that we have a robust shipbuilding capability and skilled merchant mariners in the U.S. essential to our national defense, it has also created a commercial shipping market between the mainland and Puerto Rico that is highly competitive, customized and dedicated,” Crowley added. “We should be strengthening this critically important maritime law, not tearing it down as some special interest groups espousing highly inaccurate and misleading information would like to do.”