Taíno will now go through the final topside construction and testing phase before starting its service in the US Jones Act trade in 2018.

The vessel will join her sister ship, El Coquí, which was launched earlier this year and is now in final testing before entering service in early 2018.

Taíno, like El Coquí, will be able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) and a mix of nearly 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight Ro/Ro decks. A wide range of container sizes and types can be accommodated, ranging from 20-foot standard, to 53-foot by 102-inch-wide, high-capacity units, as well as up to 300 refrigerated containers.

Construction of both El Coquí and Taíno, the latter named for an indigenous people of Puerto Rico, is being managed in the shipyard by Crowley Marine Solutions, which includes naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary  Jensen Maritime.

“Monday’s launch represents another momentous achievement for the men and women at Crowley, VT Halter Marine and other partners, who have dedicated themselves to designing and building this pioneering ship as well as sister ship, El Coquí. We appreciate their hard work, and look forward to putting these modern, environmentally-friendly ships into service for our customers and the people of Puerto Rico,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO.

The company notes that LNG-fueling will reduce emissions significantly, 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.

“The added speed and efficiency provided by these high-performing ships will benefit customers shipping goods between the mainland and the island. Cargo for businesses and consumers will be able to dependably reach markets at peak time, whether it is dry, refrigerated, or breakbulk, such as vehicles and other rolling stock,” John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico services, concluded.