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Crowley names first LNG-powered vessel ship El Coqui

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Crowley Maritime Corp has named its LNG-powered vessel El Coqui in a ceremony at JaxPort cruise terminal.

It is one of the first combined vessels for the transport of containers and cargo ro-ro’s that has LNG engines. It will serve the cabotage route between the port of Jacksonville in the USA and of San Juan in Puerto Rico.

The vessel - along with its sister ship, Taino - was designed to meet the needs of Crowley customers who ship cargo containers, motor vehicles and equipment from the US to Puerto Rico connecting the ports of Jacksonville and San Juan.

Among the participants in the event was Alexander Gray, one of the special assistants of President Donald Trump, members of Congress and port and Crowley officials.

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This vessel "is a cornerstone for the vision of the shipping company”, said President and CEO of the company, Tom Crowley. He added that his shipping company has achieved what many people, including experts, have spoken about the use of liquefied natural gas as fuel, but very few have done it.

"This is really, in terms of the world map, one of the first and I think that the LNG supply systems most sophisticated in the world ... It will become the standard and we have set the stage for how to do it,” added Crowley. The company has invested $550m.

The special assistant of the president of the Office of Industrial and Commercial Defense Policies of the US Industrial Base, Alexander B. Gray said that El Coqui also has national importance and implications for the economy, as well as for defense and national security. "This is cutting-edge technology for the future of the maritime industry. Going to liquefied natural gas is what will keep our maritime industry competitive for the next 20, 30, 40 years, "Gray said.

Gray commented that Crowley, a family-owned and privately owned company, has invested a total of approximately $3bn in the US maritime industry during the last decade, including $500m in Puerto Rico, where it has 300 resident employees, and the 85-acre Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan. "That's tremendous, that's work, that's economic growth," he said.

He added that these operations also have an impact on national security. "The sailors who man this ship and the skilled workers who maintain it are (important) for national security. These are the same people who in a crisis support our military.”

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