VT Halter lays keel for second LNG fueled Crowley ConRo

AUGUST 25, 2015 — VT Halter Marine, Inc.'s Pascagoula, MS, shipyard yesteday laid the keel for the second of two Commitment Class LNG-fueld combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships for Crowley Maritime Corp.'s liner services group.

The keel laying ceremony marked the next step in the construction the two Commitment Class ships, which will serve the U.S.-Puerto Rico trade lane.

"The keel laying marks the ceremonial beginning of the construction and formation of the backbone of a ship," said Crowley's Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager, technical services. "Today's event symbolizes how far we've come in delivering on our commitments to our customers in Puerto Rico. We are very excited to continue the construction process for these technically advanced ships."

VT Halter Marine and Crowley entered into a contract for the pair of Jones Act ships in November 2013 and construction of the second ship began with steel cutting in Pascagoula on May 27, 2015.

With the first section set in place, the ship will now begin to take shape as it is built around the keel.

The first ship's keel laying took place in January 2015.

"Once again we are very proud to announce that another significant milestone has been met," said Jack Prendergast, CEO, VT Halter Marine. "We are very pleased with the progress the team is making in the construction of this fine vessel. We are proud of our long association with Crowley and the commitments both companies are making toward the successful completion of this great project."

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 tons.

Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent-units), with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Roll-on/Roll-off garage.

Each ship will be powered by an MAN B&W 8S70ME-GI8.2 main engine and three MAN 9L28/32DF auxiliary engines fueled by LNG.

The ship design is provided by Wärtsilä Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a leading Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.

Crowley says that designing, building and operating LNG-fueled vessels is very much in line with its overall EcoStewardship positioning and growth strategy. The company formed an LNG services group in 2014 to bring together the company's extensive resources to provide LNG vessel design and construction management; transportation; product sales and distribution, and full-scale, project management solutions.

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