Knock Nevis~~World’s largest ship!!

Posted on April 17, 2008. Filed under: Auto |

The Knock Nevis is a Norwegian owned supertanker, formerly known as Seawise Giant, Happy Giant, and Jahre Viking. She is 458.45 m (1,504 ft) in length and 68.9 m (226 ft) in width, making her the largest ship ever constructed (However, by gross tonnage measure, she is fifth, 236,710, behind the four Batillus class supertankers- 274,838-275,276 tons gross). She was built between 1979 and 1981, damaged during the Iran-Iraq War, and refloated in 1991, but is now used as an immobile offshore platform for the oil industry.


Knock Nevis has 564,763 metric tons of deadweight (DWT) and a summer displacement of 647,955 t when laden with nearly 650,000 m³ (4.1 million barrels) of petroleum. The ship has a draft of 24.6 m (81 feet) when fully loaded, which makes it impossible for her to navigate even the English Channel, let alone man-made canals at Suez and Panama.


The supertanker was built at Sumitomo Heavy Industries’s Oppama shipyard in Japan for a Greek owner who refused to take delivery of the vessel due to extensive vibration issues related to faulty gear design. Following an unsuccessful arbitration against the yard, the vessel was sold to Chinese interests. The unfinished ship was bought by a Hong Kong shipping magnate Tung Chao Yung (shipping line OOCL) who had the ship extended by several metres, thus increasing her load-carrying capacity and making her the largest ship ever built. The vessel was finally floated two years later and named Seawise Giant. This is a pun on the name of the owner, who abbreviates his name as C. Y. Tung (hence C.Y.’s Giant). Tung Chao Yung experienced significant financial difficulties as a result of the lengthening and was eventually supported through contacts with the government of the People’s Republic of China.

At first, the ship operated between the Middle East and the USA but from about 1986 she was used as a floating storage ship and transshipment terminal in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. In May 1988, the ship was attacked and heavily damaged by bombs dropped from Iraqi jets while lying at the Iranian Hormuz terminal in the Strait of Hormuz the end of the Iran-Iraq War in late 1989, the wreck (which had by then been towed to Brunei) was bought by a Norwegian limited liability partnership (“KS-company”) managed by Norman International. They had the wreck repaired by the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore, and renamed Happy Giant. However in 1991, before the repairs were completed, the KS-company became managed by Norwegian shipping company Jørgen Jahre, and the vessel was delivered from Keppel Shipyard as the Jahre Viking. During the late 1990s, the majority of the KS-company was bought by Norwegian shipowner Fred Olsen through his company First Olsen Tankers.

Some facts regarding Nevis:

  • KNOCK NEVIS is so huge that when fully laden she cannot pass through the 32 mile wide English channel because it cannot manoeuvre, as travelling in a straight line is its best forte.
  • Fully laden, she sits 24.5 meters deep in the sea, a depth great enough to stop her from accessing most of the world’s major ports.
  • The cargo of oil she normally carries is worth $122 million – separated from the sea by just 3.5cm of steel plate!
  • The holds could swallow St Pauls Cathedral four times over. It has a crew of 35 to 40, which means it only needs two lifeboats. It takes 5.5 miles to stop with a turning circle of over 2 miles.

Further Info:

List of the largest ships ever built


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