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Powered by LNG, Crowley’s El Coquí embarks on maiden voyage to Puerto Rico

By on July 27, 2018

(Screen capture of http://conro.crowley.com/)

SAN JUAN – Crowley Maritime Corp.’s El Coquí, one of the world’s first combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), will be making its first trip to San Juan Friday afternoon from Jacksonville, Fla. (JAXPORT), its dedicated port.

El Coquí is the first of two Commitment Class, LNG-powered ConRo ships being built for Crowley’s shipping and logistics services between Jacksonville, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Crowley says construction of sister ship, Taíno, is “well underway” at VT Halter Marine’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the vessel is scheduled to enter service later this year.

The new ships, built specifically for the Puerto Rico trade, are 219.5 meters (720 feet), 26,500 deadweight tons, and will be able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) at a cruising speed of 22 knots.

They can accommodate a wide range of container sizes and types, including 53-foot by 102-inch-wide, high-capacity containers, up to 300 refrigerated containers, and a mix of about 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight Ro/Ro decks, a type of shipboard garage the company says only it offers.

For Friday’s voyage, El Coquí “will be loaded with 750 containers and over 300 cars,” Crowley Maritime Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley, said in a News4JAX video.

“This delivery represents another milestone in our unwavering commitment to Puerto Rico and the Jones Act,” Crowley said in a July 20 company release when his company took delivery of El Coquí.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act, regulates maritime commerce in the United States and requires goods shipped between its ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

“We have dedicated significant time, effort and more than $550 million, which includes these new ships, to transform our Puerto Rico shipping and logistics services to world-class standards,” Crowley said.

Construction of El Coquí, which is named for a small frog native to Puerto Rico, was managed in VT Halter Marine’s shipyard by Crowley’s solutions group, which includes naval architects and engineers from company subsidiary Jensen Maritime.

“This is a thrilling time for the U.S. shipbuilding industry, as evolutions in LNG technology are providing a historic opportunity for American yards and the supporting industrial base to design, build and outfit some of the most technically-advanced and environmentally-friendly vessels that are the envy of the world,” Matthew Paxton, president of Shipbuilders Council of America adds in the release.

Fueling the ships with LNG will reduce emissions significantly, Crowley Maritime said “including a 100-percent reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) of more than 35 percent per container, compared with current fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships will be bunkered from a shoreside fuel depot at JAXPORT.”

Crowley has served the Puerto Rico market from the 85-acre Isla Grande Terminal “since 1954, longer than any other carrier in the trade. The company, with 300 Puerto Rico employees, offers more weekly sailings in the market than any other shipping line,” according to the release.

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