Seafarers were on hand to help welcome a new, state-of-the-art Crowley vessel in Puerto Rico. The company on Feb. 22 christened the U.S.-flag combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ship MV Taíno in San Juan.
Clara Crowley, daughter of 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 the Taíno at the company’s Isla Grande Terminal before several hundred employees, customers and dignitaries as well as crew members. It was the first time a container ship had been christened in San Juan in recent memory.
SIU Port Agent Amancio Crespo, who attended the event, stated, “This new Jones Act ship is a welcome addition not only for our union but also for the people of Puerto Rico. It means jobs for Seafarers and the continuation of a new era of what Crowley has rightfully called world-class supply chain services in the U.S. mainland- Puerto Rico trade.”
“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 Taíno is among the first of its kind to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), like its sister Commitment Class ship MV El Coquí, which entered service in 2018. LNG is a substantially cleaner fuel source that provides industry-leading environmental performance.
The Taíno is named for the native Puerto Ricans who lived off the land with great appreciation and respect for their environment, and the El Coquí is named for the popular indigenous frog on the island.
Both ships are 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 first month of this year. Each ship has enclosed, ventilated decks with capacity for 400 cars and large vehicles, a feature unique in the Puerto Rico trade.
Both Jones Act ships were constructed at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
To enhance supply chain velocity with these ships, Crowley also made significant investments in terminal and related infrastructure on the mainland and in Puerto Rico. At Isla Grande, the company added a new, 900-foot pier and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes – the first newly constructed cranes for San Juan Harbor in more than 50 years. The company also implemented a new terminal operating system and added container staging areas and handling equipment for both refrigerated and dry cargo – all while reducing gate turn times.
“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,” said Tom Crowley. “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. 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.”
Among the first SIU members to sail aboard the Taíno were Bosun Jamar Harley, ABs Iker Urruchi Lugo, Dominique Johnson, Emil Norales, Arthur Patterson, Julio Perez and Sonny Perez, Electrician Carlos Parrilla, QMEDs Sherrod Frazier and Victor Rios Lopez, Oiler Angel Cintron, Recertified Steward Kim Strate, Chief Cook Luis Perez Acosta, and SA Nicoll Quinones-Rodriguez and Steven Lopez Ferrer.