Largest Supertanker Twice As Long As Titanic


The Supertanker Seawise Giant was twice as long as the Titanic. Actually, it was so huge it couldn’t navigate either the English Channel, Suez Canal, or Panama Canal. Although fascinating, the story of Seawise Giant is far less known than the story of Titanic, says an article published in Medium.

Seawise Giant’s stunning specifications

With a length of 458 meters (1,504 feet) Seawise Giant was the longest self-propelled ship ever built.

Seawise Giant also possessed the largest deadweight tonnage of 564,763 tons.

It could carry 4.1. million barrels of crude oil at a relatively high speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph).

Two Mitsubishi steam turbines provided a stunning 50,000 horsepowers.

When at full speed, Seawise Giant needed 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) to stop.

The rudder weighed 230 tons, the propeller weighed 50 tons, and the anchor weighed 36 tons.

Supertanker’s initial purpose was to transport crude oil between the United States and the Middle East.

Surprisingly, it required only 40 men crew.

A short history of a long supertanker

During its 30 years long stellar career, Seawise Giant changed owner five times and was also renamed five times.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. from Japan was commissioned to build Seawise Giant in 1974.

Five years later, in 1979, the ship was finished, however, the Greek owner refused to take delivery because he had gone bankrupt.


Sumitomo shipyard enlarged already huge Seawise Giant by a third through a process called jumboisation and sold it to Hong Kong ship magnate C.Y. Tung.

In 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War, the ship was sunk by the Iraqi Air Force off the coast of Iran.

After being sunk on the bottom of the sea for a year, the Norwegian conglomerate Norman International heaved the ship from the seabed in 1989, repaired it, and renamed it the Happy Giant.

Norwegian mogul Jorgen Jahre bought it for $39 million (in today’s value $81 million) and renamed it the Jahre Viking.

In 2004, the ship was sold to Norway’s First Olsen Tankers, got the new name Knock Nevis and became a stationary storage unit for crude oil in the Persian Gulf.

In 2010, the ship received a new name (the Mont) and was sold to Alang Ship Breaking Yard in India to be scrapped. It took over a year and tens of thousands of workers to disassemble Seawise Giant.


Bigger is not always better. Seawise Giant was so big it couldn’t travel through either Suez nor Panama Channel.

Since it had a draft of 24 meters (80 feet) it was impossible to anchor her in most of the world’s ports.

Eventually, her size proved more of a burden than an advantage.

It’s unlikely, any ship of comparable size will ever be built again.

Did you subscribe to our daily Newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe

Source: Medium


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.