Crowley Maritime’s latest addition to its fleet is built to carry oil, but it will be capable of running on the emerging marine fuel of the future: liquefied natural gas.

The 600’x105’x40’, 50,000-dtw tanker Ohio is the first of four Jones Act tankers Crowley has ordered from Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI), the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA. It’s the first time a product tanker has been built with the express consideration of using LNG for propulsion in the future, Crowley said.

The three additional tankers are under construction and will be delivered in 2016. Crowley’s new vessels are another indication of the gathering momentum for using LNG to power vessels, a trend that designers say will raise efficiency and greatly reduce air emissions.

The tankers are based on a Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design that Crowley has used before, with numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability for both crude oil and refined petroleum products, and meeting the latest regulatory requirements. Crowley’s naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary Jensen Maritime, Seattle, is providing construction management services for the product tankers, with an onsite office and personnel at the Philadelphia shipyard.

Jensen is also a player in the LNG workboat market, working on new designs with LNG propulsion and a new generation of LNG bunkering vessels.

“We are excited to offer our customers cutting edge technology available in these new tankers, which not only embraces operational excellence and top safety, but also offers the potential to be powered by environmentally friendly LNG in the future,” said Crowley’s Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager, petroleum and chemical transportation. “Adding these new Jones Act tankers to our fleet allows us to continue providing our customers with diverse and modern equipment to transport their petroleum and chemical products in a safe and reliable manner.”

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.