Biggest Ships in the World

”Big is beautiful

Whether you like enormous, smoke-belching funnels, grease stains and winches or not, to build a vessel which can be titled ”the biggest ship in the world” is a landmark for every company in the shipping industry.

The Largest Ship in the World comparisonThroughout the years the open seas were bravely explored by the human beings. They were crossing the waters sailing not in the biggest ship in the world, but searching of glory, conquest or just a dinner for the family.

The civilization was developing, the humanity had the opportunity to travel over land – for transport, fishing, trade or warfare.

The first painting representing a sailing ship came in the late 5th millennium BC in Kuwait.

Well known are the first largest ships in the history – the Vikings longships.

But which takes the first place in the countdown of the biggest ship in the world?

No, it is not Titanic, she places seventh among the giant passenger liners. One of the most memorable ships in the world, RMS Titanic, was the biggest ship in the world but for its time. In 1912, the year of her maiden voyage, the British liner was on first place. Second biggest ship in the world was RMS Olympic, her sister ship, with about the same length but ten thousand gross tons lighter.

Titanic lost the title in the year after her tragic accident. Germany managed to construct SS Imperator, with length 906 feet and 52,117 gross tonnage, which became the biggest ship in the world in 1913.

Since that time the shipping industry developed a lot. Today, the ships are so technically advanced, they have never carried so much cargo, have never been so sophisticated and so safe.

The transportation trough routes over the seas has a significant role in the world. It is considered to be the cheapest way of transport. Today’s enormous vessels transport almost 90 per cent of the total world production. That rise the shipping industry in building larger ships. The biggest ships today are not only cruise liners but also cargo vessels and tankers.

To build a ship is a very high value asset. The building of the largest ships in the world is estimated to cost over US $ 100/150 million. For example the cost of the biggest, the tallest, the widest and the longest ocean liner for 2004 – Queen Mary II, built in France for Carnival Corp’s Cunard, is estimated to be $ 800 million.

The biggest ship in the world ranking has been prepared according the overall vessel length. It is measured as a maximum length between the extreme points in fore and aft of the ship. Important and taken into consideration, when ship size is described, are the gross and deadweight tonnages.

At CruiseShipPosition you can see the complete list of largest cargo ships in the world currently in service. There is also an updated list of the world’s largest container shipping companies, with information on their fleets’ TEU capacity, market share, owned and chartered vessels.

Biggest Ship in the World Ranking

Ship Name Type Length Deadweight
GrossTonnage In Service
Seawise Giant Oil tanker 458.46 m 564,650 260,851 From 1979 to 2009
Pierre Guillaumat Oil tanker 414.23 m 555,051 274,837 From 1977 to 1983
Batillus Oil tanker 414.22 m 553,661 273,550 From 1976 to 1985
Bellamya Oil tanker 414.22 m 553,661 274,267 From1976 to 1986
Prairial Oil tanker 414.22 m 555,046 274,825 From 1979 to 2003
Esso Atlantic Oil tanker 406.57 m 516,891 247,161 From 1977 to 2002
Esso Pacific Oil tanker 406.57 m 516,421 247,160 From 1977 to 2002
Maersk Triple E class
(20 ships, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller)
Container ship 399 m 196,000 174,500 Since 2013
Maersk E class
(8 ships, Emma Maersk)
Container ship 397.71 m 158,200 170,793 Since 2006
Explorer class
(3 ships, CMA CGM Marco Polo)
Container ship 396 m 187,624 175,342 Since 2012

Currently the biggest ship in the world in service is Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, part of the Maersk Line’s Triple-E class ships. The Triple-E ships project contains 20 identical vessels, two of which entered in service since 2013. Until their introduction the biggest ship in the world was Maersk E-class, Explorer class (3 ships) was the largest ship in the world by capacity.

The largest ship ever built, till present, is the Seawise Giant (also known as Happy Giant, Knock Nevis).