The first of two new cargo ships destined for Mediterranean trade has been outfitted with its liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine, Crowley Maritime Corp. said.

The El Coqui (ko-kee), a commitment class combination container and roll on/roll off LNG-powered ship, is slated for use in delivering ocean cargo between Jacksonville, FL, and Puerto Rico.

Crowley said the new engine uses state-of-the-art technology that will benefit the environment.

“Utilizing this green technology is just another way we are demonstrating our commitment,” said Crowley General Manager John Hourihan. Both ships are designed specifically for the Puerto Rico trade. “[The ships would not have been] built without the Jones Act, the federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of a strong American merchant marine.”

The sister ship, Taino (tahy-noh), is also under construction. The two ships’ LNG engines weigh 759 metric tons and measure 41 feet high, 41 feet long and 14.7 feet wide. They are lifted into place by a 500-ton crane at VT Halter Marine’s facilities in Mississippi.

The ships will be able to travel at up to 22 knots while carrying 53-foot-by-102-inch-wide containers. Shipments will be a combination of containers and up to 400 vehicles.

“Customers will have the added benefit of lower emissions once these two ships join the Crowley fleet,” said Jose Ayala, Crowley vice president for Puerto Rico operations.

Jacksonville-based Crowley’s ships will have containers with roll-on and roll-off capability. The cargoes also will be refrigerated.

Crowley is touting the use of LNG vessels as part of its overall “ecostewardship” as a corporate positioning and growth strategy. Last year the company formed an LNG services group to consolidate its resources for the design and construction management, transportation, product sales/distribution, and full-scale project management for LNG marine transportation.