The largest ships in the world include oil tankers, freight carriers, and cruise liners. These enormous machines are engineering feats that are responsible for moving a large fraction of the world’s products and people.
Seeing one of these supertankers up close for the first time is an eye-opening experience, revealing the incredible manufacturing and design processes that went into its creation.
Here, we’ll take a look at the 15 largest ships in the world and talk about what makes them so impressive. There is a chance it’s a cruise ship, oil tanker, or cargo ship.
Let’s first determine how huge these ships really are. Normally, we don’t work with measurements this big. It’s challenging to comprehend these enormous sums. So let’s utilize a sizing chart to help us comprehend better. The graphic below shows the largest ship in the world next to some of the world’s most well-known landmarks to give you some perspective on its sheer scale.
Many of us have experienced the thrill of standing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Empire State Building in New York and staring up in wonder. The “wow factor” is the same when visualizing the grand size of the world’s largest ship.
Check out the image below-
The image above compares the size of the largest ship in the world with popular monuments like Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramids, etc. You can clearly see that the ship surpasses the height of the Eiffel Tower, Empire State as well as Petronas Towers.
But before moving ahead with ships, let’s see how many types of ships there are.
Types of Ships
There are various types of ships serving different purposes. Mainly classified into the following types:
1. Container Ships
2. Bulk Carrier
3. Tanker Ships
4. Cruise Ships
5. Naval Ships
6. Ultra Large Crude Carrier
7. Special Purpose Ships
The 15 largest ships in the world are highlighted here. The article ranks all the ships and classes of ships based on their overall length, irrespective of their type and category.
Overall length – This is the maximum length of the vessel measured between the extreme points.
With each, a number of useful metrics are supplied. Explore metrics like a beam, capacity, passenger, decks, draught, year of construction, cost, and many others.
The Quantum Class Ships (348 m)
As they are the smallest ships on this list, we will start with Quantum Class ships. The Quantum Class cruise ships from Royal Caribbean are among the fleet’s newest and most advanced vessels. They are jam-packed with popular activities, offer a variety of eating options, and have the technology installed all around the ships.
The Quantum Class of Royal Caribbean cruise ships was created to advance with its cutting-edge design and onboard activities. “RipCord by iFLY,” a skydiving simulator housed in a recirculating indoor recreational vertical wind tunnel, is a brand-new feature on the Quantum class. The “North Star” observation tower, which is situated at the forward end of the top deck, is another addition to the Quantum class.
Royal Caribbean has five Quantum Class cruise ships –
- The Quantum of the Seas
- The Anthem of the Seas
- The Ovation of the Seas
- The Spectrum of the Seas
- The Odyssey of the Seas
|Year built||2015-present||Gross Tonnage||167800 GT|
|Flag state||Bahamas||Passengers||4168 – 4825|
|Builder||Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)||Crew||1300|
|Building cost||USD 940 million||Cabins||2091|
|Engines||Wartsila (72 MW / 96554 hp)||Operator||RCI-Royal Caribbean International|
|Propulsion power||55 MW (73756 hp)||Length (LOA)||348 m (1142 ft)|
|Speed||41 kph (25 mph)||Beam (width)||49 m (161 ft)|
The Oasis Class Ships (360-362 m)
Five cruise ships from Royal Caribbean International belong to the Oasis class. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the first two ships in the class, were delivered by STX Europe Turku Shipyard in Finland in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The STX France-built Harmony of the Seas, the third ship in the Oasis class, was delivered in 2016, while Symphony of the Seas, the fourth ship, was finished in March 2018. The fifth Oasis-class ship, Wonder of the Seas, entered service in March 2022.
Every Oasis Class cruise ship offers experiences for every type of traveller, whether you’re looking forward to an exhilarating escape with a group that spans multiple generations or a sun-drenched lovers’ retreat boosted by world-class dining and electrifying nightlife.
The Oasis-class ships are now the largest and longest passenger ships in the world, surpassing the older Freedom-class vessels. Oasis of the Seas is around 70,000 tonnes heavier and 8.5 m (28 ft) broader, with a gross tonnage of 225,282. Over 5,400 to 6780 passengers can board a ship of the Oasis class.
|In service||2009 – present||Gross Tonnage||225,282– 226,963 GT|
|Flag state||Bahamas||Passengers||5518 – 6780|
|Builder||Chantiers de l’Atlantique (Saint-Nazaire, STX France)||Crew||2394|
|Building cost||USD 1.2 -1.4 billion||Cabins||2759|
|Engines||Wartsila (96 MW / 128738 hp)||Operator||RCI-Royal Caribbean International|
|Type||Cruise Ships||Length (LOA)||360–362 m (1,181–1,188 ft)|
|Speed||41 kph (25 mph)||Beam (width)||47-64 m (154 –210) ft|
Valemax Ships (360-362 m)
The Brazilian mining corporation Vale S.A. owns or charters a fleet of very large ore carriers (VLOC) called Valemax ships to transport iron ore from Brazil to ports in Europe and Asia.
The ships are capable of between 380,000 and 400,000 tonnes deadweight, and they conform to the Chinamax standard for ship dimensions, which sets limits on draught and beam. When comparing deadweight tonnes or overall length, Valemax ships are the longest bulk carriers ever built and among the longest ships of any kind still in operation.
Vale Brasil, the first Valemax ship, was delivered in 2011. Originally, it was anticipated that all 35 of the first series’ ships would enter service by 2013; however, the final ship did not arrive until September 2016.
|In service||2011 – present||Gross Tonnage||200,000 GT|
|Flag state||Brasil||Depth||30 m (98 ft)|
|Builder||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd, South Korea||Crew||33|
|Building cost||USD 460 million dollars.||Draught||22–23 m (72–75 ft)|
|Engines||MAN B&W 7S80ME-C8 (29,260 kW)||Operator||Vale Shipping Holding Pte. Ltd.|
|Type||Bulk carrier||Length (LOA)||360–362 m (1,181–1,188 ft)|
|Speed||28 kph (17 mph)||Beam (width)||65.0 m (213.3 ft)|
TI Class Ships (380 m)
The supertanker ships in the TI class, where “TI” stands for the Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) tanker pool operator Tankers International, are the TI Africa, TI Asia, TI Europe, and TI Oceania. The ULCCs (ultra-large crude carriers) in this class was the first to be constructed in 25 years.
All four oil tankers were built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korea, for the shipping business Hellespont Group, and they all went into service between March 2002 and April 2003. The initial names of the vessels were Hellespont Tara, Hellespont Alhambra, Hellespont Fairfax, and Hellespont Metropolis.
|In service||2003– present||Gross Tonnage||234,006 GT|
|Flag state||South Korea||Total ships||4|
|Builder||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering||Crew||30|
|Class||TI Class ships||Draught||24.5 m (80.5 ft)|
|Building cost||USD 90 million dollars||Capacity||3,166,353 barrels|
|Engines||HSD-Sulzer 9RTA84T-D (37,449kW)||Operator||Hellespont Group|
|Type||Ultra Large Crude Carrier||Length (LOA)||380 m (1,247 ft)|
|Speed||30.6 kph (19.0 mph)||Beam (width)||68 m (223 ft)|
Berge Emperor (381.82 m)
Mitsui constructed the supertanker Berge Emperor in Japan in 1975. She was among the world’s longest ships at 391.83 m (1,285.5 ft). She was introduced on August 30, 1975.
Bergesen d.y. & Co. owned the ship, which was later sold to Maastow BV and given the new name Emperor. On March 30, 1986, the ship was destroyed at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
This ship is made up of two vessels, the Berge Emperor and Berge Empress, with a combined length of 381.82 m.
|In service||1975–2004||Gross Tonnage||211,359 GT|
|Flag state||Japan||Total ships||2|
|Class||Berge||Draught||22.788 m (74.76 ft)|
|Building cost||USD 89 million dollars||Port of registry||Stavanger, Norway|
|Engines||Stal-Laval turbines||Operator||Bergesen d.y. & Co|
|Type||Supertanker||Length (LOA)||381.82 m (1,253 ft)|
|Speed||28.7 kph (17.8 mph)||Beam (width)||68.05 m (223.3 ft)|
Nai Superba and Nai Genova (381.92 m)
The Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) Nai Superba and Nai Genova were introduced in 1978. At the Eriksbergs Mekaniska Verkstads AB shipyard in Goteborg, Sweden, they were created. They were some of the final ships constructed there until it was shut down in 1979 as a result of financial difficulties that had started when Japanese shipyards started to exercise some sort of dominance within the sector.
The steam-powered Nai Superba and Nai Genova had a length of 381.81 m (1250 ft), a deadweight tonnage of 409,400, and a gross tonnage of 188,947 GT. Their beam was slightly less than 63.4 m (208 feet).
They carried chemicals to ports all over the world, despite their initial reputation as oil tankers. They were offered for sale numerous times between 1985 and 1997 despite their adaptability. In 2000 (for Nai Genova) and 2001, the tragic decision to scrap them was decided following three more years of economic hardship (for Nai Superba).
|In service||1978–2001||Gross Tonnage||188,947 GT|
|Flag state||Sweden||Total ships||2|
|Builder||Eriksbergs Mekaniske Verkstads – Gothenburg, Sweden||Crew||30|
|Class||Nai||Depth||29.49 m (96.7 ft)|
|Building cost||USD 90 million dollars||Status||Dead|
|Engines||1ST-16 engines (31920 kW)||Operator||Nav Alta Italia SpA|
|Type||Crude Oil Tanker||Length (LOA)||381.92 m (1,253 ft)|
|Speed||30.6 kph (19.0 mph)||Beam (width)||63.30 m (207 ft)|
Pioneering Spirit (382 m)
The Allseas Group’s catamaran crane vessel Pioneering Spirit was built for the single-lift installation and removal of substantial oil and gas platforms as well as the installation of record-weight pipelines. The 382 m (1,253 ft) long and 124-m (407 ft) broad ship is the largest ship by gross tonnage and, as of 2022, the largest floating sheerleg.
It cost €2.6 billion to construct in 2013 in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. It started operating offshore in August 2016.
|In service||2014 – present||Gross Tonnage||403,342 GT|
|Flag state||Malta||Draft||10–27 m (33–89 ft)|
|Builder||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co, Geoje||Crew||571|
|Building cost||USD 2.58 billion dollars||Port of registry||2014–2015: Panama City, Panama|
|Engines||Rolls-Royce Diesel-electric azimuth thrusters||Operator||Allseas Engineering BV.|
|Type||Crane’s vessel||Length (LOA)||382 m (1,253 ft)|
|Speed||26 kph (16 mph)||Beam (width)||124 m (407 ft)|
Ever G- Class Ships (399.96 m)
11 container ships in the Evergreen G class were created by Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan for Evergreen Marine. These vessels can theoretically carry up to 20,124 to 20,388 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).
All 11 of the ships are leased by Evergreen Time from Shoei Kisen Kaisha, an Imabari Shipbuilding leasing company. The Ever Golden, a ship with a 20,338 TEU capacity, was delivered on March 30, 2018.
11 ships, in particular: Ever Golden, Ever Gifted, Ever Glory, Ever Globe, Ever Goods, Ever Given, Ever Grade, Ever Genius, Always Kind, Always Govern, Always Greet
|In service||2017– present||Gross Tonnage||219,775 GT|
|Flag state||Japan||Draught||14.5 m (47 ft 7 in)|
|Status||Active||Capacity||4,82,976 metric tonnes|
|Building cost||USD 550 million dollars||Port of registry||Panama City, Panama|
|Engines||Mitsui–MAN B&W 11G95ME-C9 (59,300 kW)||Operator||Evergreen Marine|
|Type||Container ship||Length (LOA)||399.96 m (1,312 ft)|
|Speed||42.2 kph (26.2 mph)||Beam (width)||58.8 m (192 ft 11 in)|
MSC Class Ships (400 m)
Gianluigi Aponte created the worldwide shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company SA (MSC) in Italy in 1970; its head office has been in Switzerland since 1978. The business is active in all significant ports across the world.
In 2022, MSC is operating 570 container ships with a 3,920,784 twenty-foot equivalent unit intake capacity (TEU). Also, its MSC Cruises section specializes in vacation cruises.
Many of the container ships on this list are of the MSC class. These ships are of the same size and construction. MSC Diana, MSC Ingy, MSC Sloane, MSC Mirjam, MSC Rifaya, and MSC Leanne are a few notable examples.
|In service||2016– present||Gross Tonnage||193,489 GT|
|Flag state||Liberia||Draught||16m (52.5 ft)|
|Builder||Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME)||Crew||35|
|Class||Olympic class||Capacity||19,224 TEU|
|Building cost||USD 1 billion dollars||Port of registry||Panama|
|Engines||MAN B&W 11S90ME-C two-stroke diesel engine; 62.5 MW (83,800 hp)||Operator||Mediterranean Shipping Company|
|Type||Container ship||Length (LOA)||400 m (1,312 ft)|
|Speed||42.2 kph (26.2 mph)||Beam (width)||59 m (194 ft)|
MOL Triumph ships (400 m)
Six container ships in the Triumph class are currently being used by the Japanese shipping business Ocean Network Express (ONE). The ships may theoretically carry up to 20,182 TEU.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) placed the order for the ships in 2015. Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea constructed four ships. The remaining two are chartered from Shoei Kisen Kaisha and were constructed in Japan by Imabari Shipbuilding.
The MOL Triumph, MOL Trust, MOL Tribute, and MOL Tradition are the class’s principalships.
|In service||2015– present||Gross Tonnage||210,678 GT|
|Flag state||Marshall Islands||Draught||16 m (52.5 ft)|
|Builder||Samsung Heavy Industries||Crew||30|
|Class||MOL Triumph-class||Capacity||20,170 TEU|
|Building cost||USD 1.8 billion dollars||Draft||16 m|
|Engines||MAN B&W G95ME (82,440 kW)||Operator||Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd|
|Type||Container ship||Length (LOA)||400 m (1,312 ft)|
|Speed||44 km/h (27.3 mph)||Beam (width)||59 m (194 ft)|
Barzan Ships (400 m)
Barzan is an ultra-large container ship. It is the first of a set of six 18,800 TEU container ships that the United Arab Shipping Company has built in South Korea (UASC). It was one of the world’s largest cargo ships as of 2015. It emits much fewer carbon emissions than container ships of the Maersk Triple E class, claims the maker.
Some major names are – Al Muraykh, Al Nefud, Al Zubara, Al Dahna, and Tihama.
|In service||2015– present||Gross Tonnage||195,636 GT|
|Flag state||Malta||Draught||16m (52.5 ft)|
|Builder||Hyundai Samho (Mokpo)||Crew||35|
|Building cost||USD 105 million dollars||Decks||10|
|Engines||MAN B&W (82,936 kW)||Operator||Hapag-Lloyd|
|Type||Container ship||Length (LOA)||400 m (1,312 ft)|
|Speed||42.2 kph (26.2 mph)||Beam (width)||58.6 m (192 ft)|
Ever A- class Ships (400 m)
Ever G class was discussed above, and now it’s time for A class. 13 container ships in the Evergreen A class are being constructed for Evergreen Marine. The largest ships are the biggest container ships in the world, with a maximum theoretical capacity of about 23,992 TEU. Samsung Heavy Industries is constructing six ships in South Korea. China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) will construct a further seven at two shipyards in China.
The Ever Ace, which transported 21,710 TEU of containers from Yantian to Europe, holds the record as of 2022 for the most containers loaded aboard a single ship.
|In service||2021– present||Gross Tonnage||235,579 GT|
|Flag state||Panama||Draught||17 m (55 ft 9 in)|
|Builder||Samsung Heavy Industries, China State Shipbuilding Corporation||Crew||35|
|Class||Ever A- class||Capacity||23,992 to 24,004 TEU|
|Building cost||USD 600 million dollars||Decks||10|
|Engines||WinGD X92-B, 11 cylinder 58,600 kW (78,584 hp)||Operator||Evergreen Marine|
|Type||Container ship||Length (LOA)||400 m (1,312 ft)|
|Speed||42.2 kph (26.2 mph)||Beam (width)||61.5 m (202 ft)|
Esso Atlantic-class supertankers (406.57 m)
The two ships of the Esso Atlantic class, Esso Atlantic and Esso Pacific, were two of just seven vessels in maritime history to exceed 500,000 tonnes deadweight.
The ships could not pass through the English Channel, Suez Canal, or Panama Canal when fully loaded due to their 25.3 m (83 ft) fully laden draught when at sea.
|In service||1977–2002||Gross Tonnage||259,532 GT|
|Flag state||Bahamian||Draught||25.29 m (83 ft)|
|Builder||Hitachi Zosen Corporation Ariake||Crew||35|
|Class||Esso Atlantic-class||Capacity||234,626 tons|
|Building cost||USD 1 billion dollars||Depth||31.22 m (102.43 ft)|
|Engines||Steam Turbine||Operator||Esso Tankers Inc|
|Type||Ultra Large Crude Carrier||Length (LOA)||406.57 m (1,334 ft)|
|Speed||28.7 kph (17.83 mph)||Beam (width)||71.07 m (233.17 ft)|
Batillus Class Ships (414.22 m)
Four ships of this type were constructed between 1976 and 1979 in France, where the Batillus-class supertankers were a class of supertanker ships built in the late 1970s. After less than ten years of the oil transport operation, three of the ships were scrapped, and the fourth was scrapped in 2003.
All four tankers were constructed at Saint Nazaire, France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyards, in the Bassin C dock.
The four ships in the Batillus-class were only surpassed by the supertanker Sea-wise Giant in terms of length overall or deadweight tonnage while being the largest ships ever built by gross tonnage up until Pioneering Spirit.
Ships in this class are –
- Batillus, built in 1976, was scrapped in 1986.
- Bellamya, built in 1976, was scrapped in 1986.
- Pierre Guillaume was built in 1977 and scrapped in 1983.
- Prairial, built in 1979, was scrapped in 2003.
|In service||1976–2003||Gross Tonnage||275,268 GT|
|Flag state||France||Draught||25.29 m (83 ft)|
|Builder||Hitachi Zosen Corporation Ariake||Crew||30|
|Class||Batillus||Draft||28.5 m (94 ft)|
|Building cost||USD 800 million dollars||Depth||35.92 m (117.8 ft)|
|Engines||Stal-Laval steam turbine engines||Operator||Société Maritime Shell France|
|Type||Supertanker||Length (LOA)||414.22 m (1,359 ft)|
|Speed||30 kph (18 mph)||Beam (width)||63.01 m (206.7 ft)|
Sea-wise Giant (458.45 m)
The longest self-propelled ship in history, the Seawise Giant was a ULCC supertanker constructed by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan, between 1974 and 1979. She possessed the highest recorded deadweight tonnage. Her displacement at full load was 657,019 tonnes.
With a weighted draw of 24.6 m (81 ft), she was the heaviest self-propelled ship of any kind and was unable to pass through the English Channel, the Suez Canal, or the Panama Canal. She is typically regarded as the largest self-propelled vessel ever constructed. The Floating Liquified Natural Gas installation Shell Prelude (FLNG), a monohull barge designed 488 m long and 600,000 tonnes displacement, surpassed her overall length by 30 m (98.4 ft) in 2013. Ljungström turbines were used to power the Seawise Giant’s engines.
Numerous names, including Oppama, Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis, and Mont, are emblazoned on the oil ship.
During the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, she was sunk but was eventually rescued and put back into service. In 2004, the ship was modified to become a floating storage and offloading unit (FSO), and it is currently moored at the Al Shaheen Oil Field in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Qatar.
|In service||1974–2010||Gross Tonnage||260,941 GT|
|Flag state||Japan||Draught||24.611 m (80.74 ft)|
|Builder||Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. Yokosuka, Kanagawa||Capacity||4 million barrels|
|Status||Scrapped||Draft||24.611 m (80.74 ft)|
|Cost||USD 39 million dollars||Depth||29.8 m (97.77 ft)|
|Engines||Sumitomo Stal-Laval AP steam turbine, 50,000 hp||Operator||Prayati Shipping (2009–2010)|
|Type||Ultra Large Crude Carrier||Length (LOA)||458.45 m (1,504.10 ft)|
|Speed||30.6 kph (19.0 mph)||Beam (width)||68.6 m (225.07 ft)|
So these are the top 15 ships and classes of ships on our list. We can also compare them with each other on various parameters.
Top 3 ships with the highest Gross tonnage
Gross tonnage is a nonlinear measure of a ship’s overall internal volume. It should be confused with measures of mass or weight, such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.
- Pioneering Spirit currently holds the first position in this segment, having the highest gross tonnage among all the ships on this list. It is a crane vessel with 403,342 GT.
- The second position is held by Batillus class of ships. Four ships belonging to this class have the following measure of gross tonnage –
Bellamya – 275,276 GT
Batillus – 275,268 GT
Pierre Guillaumat and Prairial – 274,838 GT
- The third position is held by the largest ship that existed ( by length), Sea-wise Giant, with a gross tonnage of 260,941 GT.
Top 3 ships in terms of Beam
Beam – The overall width of the ship measured at the widest point of the nominal waterline.
- In this section also, Pioneering Spirit maintains the lead with a beam of 124 m (406.82 ft), the widest ship in the world.
- Second place is held by Esso Atlantic-class supertankers with a beam of 71 m (232.9 ft).
- Sea-wise Giant, on the other hand, held the same position as above – Third place with a beam of 68.6 m (225 ft).
With this, we wrap up our list of the world’s biggest ships by the length that ever existed or are existing on this planet.