Welcome to RBS 101, wherein I tell you about really big ships.
It is very important to note that this post really is only true for the day it was written. Two years down the line and everything will have changed.
To make things easier I am only going to deal with ships I have physically seen, and I am going to exclude odds like VLCC’s and large bulk carriers because we don’t get them in this neck of the woods.
Firstly though, how do you define a big ship? There are a number of strange measurements in ship design, and the one we all tend to think about is known as GRT, or “Gross Registered Tonnage”, it is really a measure of the internal enclosed space inside a ship, whereas NRT “Net Registered Tonnage” is a measure of GRT but which excludes non revenue earning spaces like engine rooms, fuel, crew accommodation etc. Accountants would prefer a ship to have a large NRT in proportion to GRT.
The physical weight of a ship is really called Displacement, or, the amount of water that the vessel displaces when it is floating. Have I confused you enough? I have confused myself actually because there are a few variables involved like whether a ship is fully loaded, empty, in sea water, or salt water, etc.
Let us rather do it like this…
The biggest container ship I have seen up to this date:
There are 5 contenders here, and I am really interested in the amount of “TEU’s” a ship can carry. (A TEU is a “twenty foot equivalent unit”). The larger “FEU” is double the length of a TEU.
Entered service 2013, LOA: 366m, GRT 142295, TEU Capacity 13167
The winner is definitely CMA CGM Corte Real with a capacity of 13830 TEU’s. (The reference list I am using is of the list of the 100 largest container ships, as well as reference pages from the operators.
However, she is still not the biggest box boat in service. That distinction goes to the Mǽrsk Mc-Kinney Møller. She entered service in 2013, with an LOA of 398m, and a capacity of 18270 TEU’s. Southampton has yet to have her call, although CMA CGM Marco Polo (number 2) as well as CMA CGM Alexander Von Humboldt (number 3) have both called here and they are next in line sizewise. CMA CGM Corte Real only comes in as being the 39th biggest.
On 26 August 2013, CMA CGM Jules Verne called at Southampton. She comes in at number 4 in the list, with a capacity of 16020 boxes on a 1299 ft long hull. I was not able to see her close up but did manage to photograph her from a distance (again) So, I have seen the 39th largest box boat in the world, although technically I have also seen number 20, MOL Quest, but she was too far away to really count. She comes in at 14000 TEU’s.
OOCL Chongqing comes in at 66th, CMA CGM Andromeda and CMA CGM do not even feature on the list, while Hong Kong Express comes in at 72.
I am hoping to at least catch one of the largest CMA CGM ships and I just hope I have a lens big enough to photograph them. Interestingly enough, when I was ship watching in Durban all those years ago, the Safmarine “Great Whites”; which were considered to be big ships, only had a capacity of just over 3000 TEU’s.
My next blog post RBS101 (02) will deal with passengers ships, and they are a totally different kettle of fish altogether.