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
Building of the
Biggest Ship in the World Seawise Giant
Originally, the tanker was ordered in 1974 by a Greek shipping magnate.
Seawise Giant the biggest ship in the world, was built in Yokosuka,
Kanagawa, Japan by Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. at their Oppama
shipyard. The Greek owner was not able to pay in 1979 and the unnamed
ship, identified only by its hull number 1016, stayed a subject to a
long arbitration process. Finally, after a settlement the tanker was
sold to C.Y. Tung, Chinese shipping kingpin. The ship was refitted,
lengthen by several metres and 156,000 metric tons of cargo capacity
added, in order to be the biggest ship ever to sail.
The name, given by Tung, was Seawise Giant.
She was launched in 1981 with capacity of 564,763 metric tons
deadweight. Her length overall was 458.45 m (1,504.1 ft). Seawise Giant,
the biggest ship ever built, had deck space of 31,541 square meters and
46 tanks. That makes her wider and longer than an American aircraft
carrier with a half.
The Story of the Largest Ship Ever Built
”To survive an attack from Saddam Hussein’s air force, but not to
withstand the pressure of a changing oil market.”
Seawise Giant started her service with uneventful transport courses
between the Middle East and the United States.
In 1988 the biggest ship in the world Seawise Giant became a victim of
the Iran-Iraq War. On May 14th, she was transiting the Strait of Hormuz
carrying Iranian crude oil when she was attacked by Iraqi Air Force
planes. The tanker sank off the coast of Larak Island, Iran. Seawise
Giant was declared a total loss and became the biggest shipwreck in the
In 1989, after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the wreckage of the biggest
ship Seawise Giant were bought by a Norwegian consortium. She was pulled
out. The repair work were significant. They took two years and were done
in Singapore. The tanker got her second name, the Happy Giant, and her
In 1991, the already repaired tanker was bought by Jorgen Jahre, a
Norwegian shipping mogul, for $39 million. The biggest ship in the world
received her third name – the Jahre Viking. She sailed with that name
and under the Norwegian flag for the next 13 years.
The biggest ship Seawise Giant certainly was an engineering marvel but
by 2004 it had became clear that this was not the most practical way for
oil transportation in the modern world. Jahre Viking wasn’t maneuverable
enough, her weight was increasing the risk of running aground in waters
and it was hard to navigate in the English Channel. She had a speed of
16.5 knots but the biggest ship ever built wasn’t good at slowing down.
She needed over 5 miles to decrease her speed from 16.5 knots.
In 2004 the largest ship ever build was sold to First Olsen Tankers.
They renamed the ship to the Knock Nevis. She was converted into a
stationary storage tanker. The biggest ship in the world final service
was as a floating storage and offloading vessel, permanently moored in
the Persian Gulf’s Al Shaheen Oil Field off the coast of Qatar.
She stayed as a storage vessel for 5 years before her owners to decide
that it is time for her to be scrapped, the same fate as the third
biggest ship in the world, the supertanker Batillus. She was sent to the
Alang-Sosiya ship-breaking yards, in India, in January 2010 with the
According to Times of India the dismantling project took about 18,000
Now, from the biggest ship ever built in the world Seawise Giant, we can
only see her 36 tonne anchor exhibited in the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.