The third in a series of liquefied natural gas-ready tankers for Crowley Maritime Corp. was christened Thursday in New Orleans, entering service with charter operator Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Findlay, Ohio.

The 600’x105’x40’, 330,000-bbl. capacity Louisiana joins Texas and Ohio as the first petroleum tankers to receive the American Bureau of Shipping’s LNG-Ready Level 1 approval. With dual-fuel capable propulsion, the vessels give Crowley the option to convert to LNG operation in the future.

During a christening ceremony at the Port of New Orleans Julia Street cruise terminal, Carrie Templin, wife of Don Templin, Marathon executive vice president, broke the bottle of champagne on the hull. Along with Marathon and Crowley personnel, the crowd included those from builders Philly Shipyard Inc., Philadelphia.

“This is a great day of celebration for Crowley, Marathon, Philly Shipyard and all the people who had a role in bringing this great ship to life,” said Tom Crowley, the company chairman and CEO. “We also celebrate the men and women seafarers who will be counted on to operate her safely and reliably for our customer, Marathon. There is nothing more important.” 

A fourth LNG-capable tanker is under construction at Philly Shipyard. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Crowley is also investing in LNG capability for two Commitment-class ro/ro containerships for service between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. The first ship, the 740’x105’x59’ El Coqui, is now under construction at the VT Halter Marine yard at Pascagoula, Miss.

The new tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design that incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability, and the latest regulatory requirements. They can carry crude oil or refined petroleum products, and other chemical products. 

Construction management services were provided by Crowley’s marine solutions group, which provides oversight and management in shipyards across the country for Crowley and other third-party companies. PSI (formerly known as Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc.), is the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA. PSI also built the tankers Texas and Ohio for Crowley, and the fourth ship in the program is under construction with delivery planned for third quarter 2016.

“The christening underscores our continued commitment to building and operating innovative vessels that deliver the best possible service and efficiency for our customers who depend on us for safe and reliable transportation of petroleum products,” said Rob Grune, Crowley senior vice president and general manager for petroleum services. “And, as is the case with its sister ships, we designed and built the Louisiana to have the capability to be converted to LNG propulsion in the future, increasing the likelihood of a long service life as new emissions regulations are developed in the years ahead.”