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World’s Biggest Ship


The World’s Biggest Ship – Past, Present and Future


Everyone has heard of the Titanic, which was at the time of its creation the world’s biggest ship designed for carrying passengers. Touted as the ‘ship that could not be sunk’ the world’s biggest ship of its kind sadly sank on its first commercial voyage after colliding with an ice berg in 1912 killing 1,517 people.

At an overall length and breadth of 269.1 metres by 28 metres, with a deck 18 metres above the water, weighing a total of 46,328 tonnes, and with a maximum capacity of 1,178 people; the Titanic did a lot to earn its title of the world’s biggest ship of its time. This ‘titanic’ failure of then the world’s biggest ship subsequently put people off the design and use of such large ships for time. Many people incorrectly believe the Titanic to still be the world’s biggest ship ever built. However that is far from the case, and the caution didn’t last forever; today the world’s biggest ship is considerably bigger, with even larger and grander designs poised to become the world’ biggest ship or vessel in future.
The world’s biggest ship ever built would be introduced in 1979. This ship was the ‘Knock Nevis’, a floating storage and offloading unit that was also known as the Seawise Giant, the Happy Giant or the Jahre Viking and put the world’s biggest ship at over 458 meters in length (that’s a quarter of a mile) and 68 meters wide as well as 646,642 tonnes. Incredibly, if the Knock Nevis was able to stand on its end, it would actually be taller than the Empire State building in New York. It could not sail through the English Channel as it was too narrow for the world’s biggest ship to manoeuvre. To this day the Nevis remains the world’s biggest ship ever built, though it sailed its last voyage in 2009 and was subsequently scrapped.

With the world’s biggest ship ever built now out of use, that leaves the ‘Emma Maersk’ which is the world’s second biggest ship ever built and also currently the world’s biggest ship in use. At 397 meters, the ship is notably smaller than the Nevis but still larger than the Eiffel Tower and many skyscrapers. Interestingly, as well as being the world’s biggest ship currently in use, the Emma Maersk also holds another record as longest a container ship has remained in use.

While these describe the world’s biggest ship past and present, the world’s biggest passenger ship is another matter. Here the winner is the Queen Mary which is also the third longest ship in the world behind the Knock Nevis and the Emma Maersk. At 345 meters long this still puts it as taller than the Eiffel Tower and almost 100 meters longer than the famous Titanic which was also a passenger ship. Other notable entries (the third and fourth world’s biggest ship respectively) are the Berge Stahl (342 meters) and the USS Enterprise (341). The world’s biggest cruise ship meanwhile, the MS Oasis of the Seas, was built only recently in 2009.

While these contenders for world’s biggest ship are all impressive and noteworthy in one way and another, they are still overshadowed by some of the ambitious plans for the future that threaten to dwarf even the Knock Nevis.

The most ambitious of these plans for the world’s biggest ship involve ‘floating communities’ that are essentially water-bound cities or towns that offer all the amenities of a residential area on land but for a floating community. One of the best known designs for such a ship is the ‘Freedom Ship’ proposed by Norman Nixon in the 1990s and intended to provide an ocean colony on a boat that would be 1,317 meters long and housing for approximately 50,000 people along with an aircraft landing strip, casino, hotel, school and more. This would solve many of the problems of space and land in an increasingly over populated world as well as providing a very different way of life for its residents. While the technical challenges mean that this has yet to become the world’s biggest ship, the project is still looking for investors.

Currently then, the world’s biggest ship is the Emma Maersk, while the Knock Nevis takes the prize for the world’s biggest ship ever built; both of which leave the Titanic for dust. Meanwhile a continuing trend towards larger and larger sea-fairing vessels suggests that these ships will only continue to get bigger, and that we may even some day create them big enough to replace cities.


World’s Biggest Ship

World’s Biggest Ship
World’s Biggest Ship
World’s Biggest Ship
World’s Biggest Ship