Designed in cooperation between Wartsila Ship Design and the Crowley naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary, Jensen Maritime, the vessels are to be built by VT Halter Marine located at Pascagoula, in Jackson County.
To be named ‘El Coquí’(ko-kee) and ‘Taíno’ (tahy-noh) and capable of operating at speeds up to 22 knots, the 10 m draught, 219.5 m long, 32.3 m beamed ships will have a carrying capacity of up to 2,400 teu, including hi-cube and reefers, along with 400 vehicles within weather-tight car decking.
Scheduled for delivery in the second and fourth quarters of 2017, the vessels will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet, which has been in continuous use since the early 1970s. Although no price details have been disclosed, industry sources put the price tag at around US$200m per ship.
“Our investment in these new ships, the first of their kind in the world, is significant on many fronts,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “We named them the Commitment Class [Commitment Class, Jones Act] ships because they represent our commitment to our customers and the people of Puerto Rico whom we will continue to serve for years”.
“Second, it reflects Crowley’s commitment to EcoStewardship© in that we are developing and using best-available technology that allows for improved emissions, advanced ballast water management and alternative fuel selection,” he said.
The US- Puerto Rico trade falls within the scope of the Jones Act that requires vessels to be US-built, -owned, -crewed and US-flagged.