Innovation Paving the Way Forward

Heavy polar icebreaker for defence readiness in the Arctic and Antarctic regions

The US Coast Guard has awarded US$20 million worth of contracts to five companies for heavy polar icebreaker design studies and analysis on 22 February 2017. VT Halter Marine is one of the five companies selected. The others are namely Bollinger Shipyards, Fincantieri Marine Group, General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company and Huntington Ingalls.

The objective of the studies is to identify design and systems approaches to reduce acquisition cost and production timelines. In addition to a requirement to develop heavy polar icebreaker designs with expected cost and schedule figures, the contracts require the awardees to examine major design cost drivers; approaches to address potential acquisition, technology and production risks, and benefits associated with different types of production contract types.

The heavy polar icebreaker integrated program office, staffed by the US Coast Guard and US Navy personnel, will be using the studies to refine and validate the draft heavy polar icebreaker system specifications.

The studies are expected to take 12-months to complete, with study results provided incrementally during that time. The US Coast Guard plans to release a draft request for proposal (RFP) for detail design and construction by end-2017, followed by release of the final RFP in 2018. The integrated program office plans to award a single contract for design and construction of the lead heavy polar icebreaker in 2019.

Cleaner and Greener fleet

VT Halter Marine launched the El Coquí, an industry-leading liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered Container Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ship built for Crowley Holdings Inc. (Crowley) at the Pascagoula shipyard on 20 March 2017. She is expected to be successfully delivered later this year.

Being one of the world’s first combination of LNG-powered ConRo ships, El Coquí and her sister ship Taíno, will be able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) with additional space 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. These vessels are designed to travel at speeds up to 22 knots while maximising the sizes of the carriage and container.

Fuelling both ships with LNG reduce emissions significantly. This includes a 100-percent reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of more than 35 percent in carbon dioxide (CO2) per container, as compared to using current fossil fuels. These ships, once delivered will be some of the most advanced cargo handling ships operating today and they will serve the U.S. Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The El Coquí, an industry-leading LNG-powered ConRo ship built for Crowley, was launched at the Pascagoula shipyard on 20 March 2017.

The Launching of the Ei Coqui.