The biggest, the best, the most beautiful: the search for the exceptional always keeps us busy. This applies especially to ships. Every time you see a gigantic cruise boat passing by, you think 'bigger than this one probably isn't there'. But then you seem to be wrong. Strangely enough, cruise ships are not even the biggest. The largest ship ever built is a supertanker.
The largest ship in the world
The largest ship in the world, both in length and transport capacity, was the Knock Nevis. The Knock Nevis, also known as the Seawise Giant, Jahre Viking or the Happy Giant, was a super tanker that sailed the world's seas until 2009. With space for more than 4 million barrels of oil, the Knock Nevis was a true floating oil lake. This giant had a length of 458.45 meters. With a tonnage of 260,941 and a draught of almost 27 metres, the Knock Nevis was even huge for a supertanker. A ship of this size and with such a valuable cargo naturally attracts attention - and not only from oil tanker spotters.
History of the largest oil tanker in the world
After the 1973 oil crisis, the demand for black gold had exploded and Western companies wanted to better control its supply. Mammoth tankers proved to be the solution. The Knock Nevis was built in 1979 in the Japanese shipyard of Sumitomo Heavy Industries and sailed under the British flag to the Middle East to transport crude oil to Europe. A risky journey, especially if there is a conflict in the region. In the Middle East you know that you don't have to wait long for that.
During the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988) both parties wanted to sabotage the opponent's oil trade. Especially the Iraqi Air Force went far in this. Tankers that transported Iranian oil were bombed without any pardon, regardless of the nationality under which the tanker sailed. On 14 May 1988 the Knock Nevis was severely damaged by an Iraqi air raid. A large part of the crew died. The largest ship in the world partly disappeared under the waves.
Jeremy Clarkson on the Knock Nevis
The shallow depth and the enormous depth of the ship ensured that part of it remained above water. With great difficulty, an international salvage operation managed to bring the largest ship in the world fully back to the surface. After a lengthy and expensive repair, the ship was put back into service under the name Happy Giant. In 2009 the curtain fell for this happy giant. The largest ship in the world ever was brought to India and dismantled there.
Largest oil tanker in the world today
Nice that you now know what the biggest tanker ever was. But of course you also want to know what the biggest tanker is nowadays. These are the super tankers of the TI class. They are 380 meters long, 68 meters wide and have a draught of 24.53 meters. The tonnage is 234.006. These ships are sailing monsters, but compared to the Knock Nevis it seems as if they are adolescents who have not yet reached full maturity. Moreover, there will not soon be a larger mammoth tanker because there is no demand for it. That will change when there is a new oil crisis.
Largest cruise ship in the world
Oil tankers are the longest ships in the world, but cruise ships are true floating cities. There is a good chance that your sailing holiday destination has more people than you can find in your residential area. Up to 6,200 people can stay on the largest ship. Restaurants, theatres, cinemas, shops, a casino, many bars. You name it and you will find on the largest of all cruise ships, the 'Allure of the Seas'.
The Allure of the Seas was built in 2010, has a tonnage of 225,282, is 363 meters long and 65 meters wide. It normally accommodates 5,400 people. If all luxury and double rooms are populated then 6,200 people can sail along. Imagine what kind of an organization is on such a ship. All these people have to eat, drink, go out, you name it. The Allure of the Seas is divided into real districts. Each district has its own style and colour - very handy if you lose your way!
Largest container ship in the world
One category that should not be overlooked is that of container ships. If you have ever visited a modern port, you probably know how impressive those seemingly countless stacked containers look like while they are hoisted onto a container ship. It seems as if they are matchboxes stacked carelessly on top of each other. That these containers are up to 15 meters in length seems unreal because of the overwhelming number. Try to imagine what an enormous upward force a container ship must have that is almost 20,000 metres in length. Welcome to the MSC Oscar.
The Oscar has a large deck. That is an understatement. The Oscar has a deck as big as 4 football fields. That covers the cargo better. This ship is so big that it can carry 39,000 cars. 117 million sports shoes. Almost a billion cans of dog food. This ship is bizarrely large. The demand for ever larger ships is still growing explosively, especially since more and more products are transported to and from Asia. The transport of goods becomes cheaper as container ships grow in size. A container ship carrying more than 20,000 containers will probably soon be built.
The largest ship in antiquity
Man has always wanted to transport a lot (read: earn). That was no different in classical antiquity. The largest boat of antiquity was the Syracusia. This boat was 11o meters long and was built by order of the Ptolemaic royal family that ruled Egypt (of which Cleopatra was the last). We have no idea what the Syracusia looked like, but in the 18th they did:
According to tradition, the Syracusia was designed by none other than Archimedes. Based on his plans, the ship was built around 240 BC. The Syracusia could carry 1,800 tons and almost 2000 passengers. A huge number for that time. Some traditions report that there were always 200 soldiers on board and even a catapult. There was also a garden on board and bathrooms with hot water. As is the case with modern cruise ships, below deck was the crew's deck, while above deck the extremely rich guests enjoyed the ivory and mosaic decorated rooms, such as a library, a gym and of course a temple for the goddess of love, Aphrodyte.