Have ships become too big? Engineers have been able to make them larger and larger. That has had some negative consequences. “Ever Given”, a container ship, blocked the Suez Canal for several days, disrupting the world’s ocean traffic. Most of the largest ships fall into three categories. One is military ships, led by massive aircraft carriers. The next is cruise ships which can carry thousands of passengers. The third is container ships like the “Ever Given.”
The largest ship in the world based on an analysis by Marine Treasury is the container ship “Prelude”. It was built, starting in 2013, to carry liquefied natural gas. Its specific category in the shipping world is “floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility,” which falls into none of the first three categories of seagoing vessels
The “Prelude” is 1,601 feet long and 243 feet wide. That is about as long as One World Trade Center, the tallest building in America, is tall. One World Trade Center tops out at 1,776 feet. “Prelude’s” total weight is listed at 600,000 tonnes. Each tonne is equivalent to 1.1 American tons. At that weight, it is over 20 times what the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket weighs. It is also five times the size of America’s largest aircraft carriers, according to Forbes.
The “Prelude” is owned by oil giant Shell.
The “Prelude” has not been a total success for Shell. The Forbes history of the ship points out:
Safety problems forced the closure of Prelude in January and a re-start date has not been set for the vessel, which is estimated to have cost between $12 and $17 billion—with the exact price never revealed by Shell.
Apparently, bigger is not always better.