When the subject of large ships comes up, the first thing on most people’s minds is the Titanic. Although the legendary cruise liner was indeed impressive for its time, the shipping industry has since come up with numerous contenders that far surpass the Titanic in sheer size and grandeur. Here then is a list of the top 10 largest ships that have ever charted the oceans.
#10. MS Vale Brasil
Capacity: 400,000 tons
MS Vale Brasil is a very large ore carrier owned by the Brazilian mining company Vale. She is the first of seven 400,000-ton very large ore carriers ordered by Vale from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea and twelve from Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries in China, which are designed to carry iron ore from Brazil to Asia along the Cape route around South Africa. While close to the specifications of Chinamax, these ships are generally referred to as Valemax vessels by Vale. They are the largest bulk carriers ever built.
#9. Jarmada class
Capacity: 380,000 tons
The Jarmada class was built to transport oil to numerous destinations around the world. Capable of speeds of nearly 16 knots and measuring 1,225 feet in length, the Jarmada class was in service for more than 3 decades before being put out of commission in 2008.
Capacity: 484,000 tons
Globtik Tokyo was one of three oil tankers in its class. At the time her keel was laid in 1972 she was the largest supertanker in the world at 378.85 meters and 483,684 tonnes. It held that distinction until 1973 when her sister ship the Globtik London was launched. Identical in size the London was heavier by 276 dead weight tonnes . Both ships had a hold capacity of 580 million liters (3.65 million US barrels).
Owned by Globtik Tankers, London they were built by Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries in Kure Japan, now known as IHI Corporation. Both ships have been retired from service and broken up for scrap, the London in 1985 and the Tokyo in 1986.
#7 TI class Oceania supertanker
Capacity: 440,000 tons
The TI Class of ships are the four largest double-hulled supertankers in the world and are, as of 2010, the largest ocean going ships currently in service. The previous largest ship, the single hulled supertanker Seawise Giant, was scrapped in 2010. The class comprises the ships TI Africa, TI Asia, TI Europe and TI Oceania, where the “TI” refers to the VLCC Tanker Pool operator Tankers International L.L.C. The class were the first ULCCs (Ultra-large crude carriers) to be built for 25 years.
Capacity: 159,000 tons
Emma Mærsk is the first container ship in the E-class of eight owned by the A. P. Moller-Maersk Group. When
she was launched in 2006, Emma Mærsk was the largest container ship ever built. As of 2010, she and her seven sister ships are among the longest container ships constructed. Officially, Emma Mærsk is able to carry around 11,000 twenty-foot equivalent units or 14,770 TEU depending on definition. In May 2010, the class set a record of 15,011 TEU in Tanger-Med, Tangiers, on sister Ebba Mærsk.
Capacity: 516,000 tons
The Esso Atlantic is a certified legend in the shipping industry. With an impressive 35-year record in service, the massive oil tanker is capable of handling deadweight of nearly 516,000 tons. The Esso measured 1,334 feet in length and could reach speeds of up to 16 knots.
#4. Prairial (supertanker)
Capacity: 550,000 tons
Prairial was a supertanker, built in 1979 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire for Compagnie Nationale de Navigation. Prairial, which was the fourth and final vessel of Batillus class supertankers. She was the only ship of that class to have a career longer than ten years, sailing until 2003, although under different names: Sea Brilliance (1985), Hellas Fos (1986) and Sea Giant (1997). She is also distinguished as the third biggest ship ever constructed, surpassed in size only by Seawise Giant (later Jahre Viking, Happy Giant and Knock Nevis) built in 1976 and subsequently lengthened, and her sister ship Pierre Guillaumat.
The vessel was completed and commissioned in 1979. As other ships of Batillus class, she was laid up, arriving at Vestnes, Norway on April 5, 1983, but was sold and recommissioned in 1985. She was in service under different names and owners until 2003, when she arrived at Gadani ship-breaking yard in order to be scrapped.
Capacity: 554,000 tons
Batillus was a supertanker, built in 1976 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire for the French branch of Shell Oil. The first vessel of homonymous Batillus class supertankers. Batillus, together with her sister ships Bellamya, Pierre Guillaumat and Prairial, was one of the biggest ships in the world, surpassed in size only by Seawise Giant built in 1976, and extended in 1981, although the four ships of the Batillus class had a larger gross tonnage.
#2. Pierre Guillaumat (supertanker)
Capacity: 554,000 tons
Pierre Guillaumat was a supertanker, built in 1977 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire for Compagnie Nationale de Navigation. Pierre Guillaumat, which was the third vessel of Batillus class supertankers (the other three, slightly smaller, were Batillus, Bellamya and Prairial), is distinguished as the biggest ship ever constructed, surpassed in size only by Seawise Giant built in 1976, and only subsequently lengthened, although the four ships of the Batillus class had a larger gross tonnage.
Named after the French politician and founder of Elf Aquitaine oil industry, Pierre Guillaumat, the vessel was completed and put in service in 1977. Due to unprofitability, accentuated by huge dimensions of the ship, which placed restrictions on where she could be employed, the Pierre Guillaumat was put on hold at Fujairah anchorage since February 2, 1983 and later that year, bought by the Hyundai Corporation, and renamed Ulsan Master, she arrived at Ulsan, South Korea for demolition on October 19, 1983.
Because of her gigantic proportions the usability of the Pierre Guillaumat was very limited. She couldn’t pass through either the Panama or Suez canals. Because of her draft, she could enter a minimal number of ports in the world, and was therefore moored on offshore rigs, and oil terminals like Antifer and after off-loading to reduce her draft, at Europoort.
Capacity: 657,000 tons
Seawise Giant, later Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis, Oppama, and finally Mont, was a ULCC supertanker and the longest ship ever built. She possessed the greatest deadweight tonnage ever recorded. Fully laden, her displacement was 657,019 tonnes (646,642 long tons; 724,239 short tons), the heaviest ship of any kind, and with a draft of 24.6 m (81 ft), she was incapable of navigating the English Channel, the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. Overall, she was generally considered the largest ship ever built, as well as the largest self-propelled human-made object ever built. She was sunk during the Iran-Iraq War, but was later salvaged and restored into service. She was last used as a floating storage and offloading unit moored off the coast of Qatar in the Persian Gulf at the Al Shaheen Oil Field.
The vessel was sold to Indian ship breakers, and renamed Mont for her final journey in December 2009. After clearing Indian customs, she was sailed to, and intentionally beached at Alang, Gujarat, India for demolition.