Connections Magazine

Winter 2017

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19 19 million, which includes the ships, a new pier, three new container cranes and other terminal infrastructure in Puerto Rico, representing some of the largest private capital projects on the island. "Building the ships, El Coquí and Taíno, is something that gives me a lot of emotion. I'm pretty proud even more knowing I'm helping my island, because my island right now is having a very difficult moment in the economy," said Antonio Hernandez, 35, structural shop foreman. "It really rings true, Commitment Class ships," said Patrick Sperry, Crowley's construction manager at the shipyard. The workforce is based at three VT Halter Marine locations in Pascagoula and nearby Moss Point, working morning and evening shifts. Under the Mississippi sun, workers toil in buildings fabricating sections of ships, where they are later hoisted and erected into the steel bodies of the ship. The hatch locations, piping and other pieces are joined together from there. "Halter's commitment to Crowley and Crowley's commitment to the Puerto Rico trade are the main reasons these vessels are called Commitment Class," said Hank Stewart, vice president of production, VT Halter Marine, whose family has worked for the company for multiple generations. "A little over 19 percent of our workforce is Puerto Rican. Puerto Rican families are going to benefit from the construction of these two vessels. Those families are going to have a better way of life from working on the ships." Ships Embody Puerto Rican Pride Many workers have worked on other Crowley projects, such as articulated tugs and barges (ATBs). But the LNG ships are a first for everyone, and especially for Crowley's Puerto Rico trade. Their pride in what they are doing is evident by the "Team El Coquí" and "Team Taíno" stickers that adorn their hardhats, lockers and other gear. El Coquí is named for a beloved frog native to the island, and Taíno is named for the indigenous people of Puerto Rico. "What better names? That's Puerto Rican pride right there," said Eddie Torres, 40, an outfitting foreman, who called the names his favorite part of the project. Torres, Rodriquez and others workers said they are committed to working with an attention to detail and safety. For example, Rodriquez has to weld well enough to pass inspections that include X-rays to ensure the LNG pipes meet performance standards. "You want to do it right. You want to do it once, not twice – especially my job," said Rodriquez, who had been a welding instructor in Puerto Rico. When a team of six pipefitters and two welders lined up to start their afternoon shift each day, pipe foreman Wilfredo "Pupo" Perez makes sure to emphasize their first commitment is to working safely. It's a daily ritual. "Remember every day, safety first," he told them in English, then Spanish as they meet inside a fabrication building where they weld and build modules. "I want everyone going home the same way they came in." Perez, 40, who began working at Halter 10 years ago, has helped build Crowley tugs and barges. However, the work on the LNG ships is special because he hopes they will aid the economy on the island where his children live. When they visit each summer, he proudly shows them the kind of work he does on the vessels. "Twenty-five or 30 years from now and I'm retired, and we go to the port with my grandkids, I have a lot of stories to tell," Perez said. "I made a lot of friends … how we did this part, how we did that other unit – there's a lot of things I can tell." Learn more about... Crowley's Puerto Rico services at ? Connections Winter 2017 Below: Eddie Torres, an outfitting foreman, helps ensure various equipment is correctly installed by a shipyard crew. Bottom: (From left) Antonio Hernandez, Nestor Serrano, Carlos Torres and Fernando Roque WATCH A VIDEO ON THE IMPACT OF PUERTO RICAN WORKERS AT: CROWLEY.COM/PRWORKERS

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