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Seawise Giant

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TT Knock Nevis, formerly Seawise Giant, leaving the Dubai Drydocks
  • Seawise Giant (1979–1991)
  • Happy Giant (1991)
  • Jahre Viking (1991–2004)
  • Knock Nevis (2004–2009)
  • Mont (2009–2010)
OperatorPrayati Shipping (2009–2010)
Port of registry
Out of service1988 and 2009
FateScrapped in 2010
General characteristics
TypeCrude oil tanker
  • 260,941 GT
  • 214,793 NT
  • 564,763 DWT
  • 81,879 long tons light load
  • 646,642 long tons full load
Length458.45 m (1,504.10 ft)
Beam68.6 m (225.07 ft)
Draft24.611 m (80.74 ft)
Depth29.8 m (97.77 ft)
Speed16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)
Capacity4.1 million barrels

The TT Seawise Giant—earlier Oppama; later Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis, and Mont—was a ULCC supertanker and the longest self-propelled ship in history, built in 1974–1979 by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan. She possessed the greatest deadweight tonnage ever recorded. Fully laden, her displacement was 657,019 tonnes.

At the time she was built, she was the heaviest self-propelled ship of any kind. With a laden draft of 24.6 m (81 ft) and a length of 1,504.10 ft, she was incapable of navigating the English Channel,[5] the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. Overall, she is generally considered the largest self-propelled ship ever built.[6][7] In 2013 her overall length was surpassed by 30 m by the floating liquified natural gas installation Shell Prelude (FLNG), a monohull barge design 488 m (1,601 ft) long and 600,000 tonnes displacement. Seawise Giant's engines were powered by Ljungström turbines.

She was damaged in 1988 during the Iran–Iraq War, but was later repaired and restored to service.[citation needed] The vessel was converted to a floating storage and offloading unit (FSO) in 2004, moored off the coast of Qatar in the Persian Gulf at the Al Shaheen Oil Field.[8]

The vessel was sold to Indian ship breakers, and renamed Mont for a final journey in December 2009. After clearing Indian customs, the ship sailed to Alang Ship Breaking Yard, Alang, Gujarat, where she was beached for scrapping, which was completed in 2010.[8][9]


Seawise Giant during her repairs in Singapore on December 27, 1990 after being hit by Iraqi Exocet[citation needed] during the Iran–Iraq War.

Seawise Giant was ordered in 1974 and delivered in 1979 by Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (S.H.I.) at Oppama shipyard in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan, as a 418,611-ton Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC).[10] The vessel remained unnamed for a long time, and was identified by her hull number, 1016. During sea trials, 1016 exhibited severe vibration problems while going astern. The Greek owner refused to take delivery and the vessel was subject to a lengthy arbitration proceeding. Following settlement, the vessel was sold and named Oppama by S.H.I.[6]

The shipyard exercised its right to sell the vessel and a deal was brokered with Hong Kong Orient Overseas Container Line founder C. Y. Tung to lengthen the ship by several metres and add 146,152 tonnes of cargo capacity through jumboisation. Two years later the ship was relaunched as Seawise Giant.[6][11] "Seawise", a pun on "C.Y.'s", was used in the names of other ships owned by C.Y. Tung, including Seawise University.[12]

After the refit, the ship had a capacity of 564,763 tonnes deadweight (DWT), a length overall of 458.45 m (1,504.1 ft) and a draft of 24.611 m (80.74 ft). It had 46 tanks, and 31,541 m2 (339,500 sq ft) of deck space. When Seawise Giant was fully loaded, her 25 meter/81 foot draft was too deep for the ship to safely navigate the relatively shallow waters of the English Channel.[6] The rudder weighed 230 tons, and the propeller weighed 50 tons.[13]

Seawise Giant was damaged in 1988 during the Iran–Iraq War by an Iraqi Air Force attack while anchored off Larak Island, Iran on 14 May 1988 and carrying Iranian crude oil. The ship was struck by bombs. Fires ignited aboard the ship and on oil that escaped into the surrounding water, which blazed out of control.[14] Contrary to some more recent online reports, the vessel did not sink; images of the burnt-out but still afloat vessel have been published online.[15]

After the fires were extinguished, the remaining cargo was discharged to other tankers.[16] The ship was declared a constructive total loss, which means the ship was intact but so damaged that it would cost more to repair it than the value of the repaired vessel.[17]

Shortly after the Iran–Iraq war ended, a Norwegian investment firm managed by Finanshuset bought the damaged vessel, which had by then been towed to a lay-up location off Labuan. The manager was Norman International AS, a Norwegian ship manager that was subsequently dissolved in 1992. The vessel was subsequently towed from Labuan to Singapore[citation needed] and repaired at the Keppel Corporation. The ship was renamed Happy Giant, in line with Norman International’s tradition of naming tankers with the prefix «Happy» and bulkers with the prefix «Norman».[4] She re-entered service in October 1991.[17]

Jørgen Jahre bought the tanker in 1991 for US$39 million and renamed her Jahre Viking. From 1991 to 2004, she was owned by various Norwegian investment firms and flew the flag of Norway.[17]

In 2004, the tanker was purchased by First Olsen Tankers, renamed Knock Nevis, and converted into a permanently moored storage tanker in the Qatar Al Shaheen Oil Field in the Persian Gulf.[6][17]

Knock Nevis was renamed Mont and reflagged to Sierra Leone by new owners Amber Development for a final voyage to India where she was scrapped at Alang by Priya Blue Industries.[18] The vessel was beached on 22 December 2009.[3][9][19] Due to the length and the size of the vessel, scrapping only finished at the end of 2010. The ship's 36 tonne anchor was saved and donated to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum in 2010.[20] It was later moved to a Hong Kong Government Dockyard building on Stonecutters Island.[21]

Size record

Knock Nevis, ex-Seawise Giant (in red) compared to large ships and buildings:
  The Pentagon, 1,414 feet, 431 m
  RMS Queen Mary 2, 1,132 feet, 345 m
  USS Enterprise, 1,123 feet, 342 m
  Hindenburg, 804 feet, 245 m
  Yamato, 863 feet, 263 m
  Empire State Building, 1,454 feet, 443 m
  Knock Nevis, ex-Seawise Giant, 1,503 feet, 458 m
  Apple Park, 1,522 feet, 464 m

Seawise Giant was the longest ship ever constructed, at 458.45 m (1,504.1 ft), longer than the height of many of the world's tallest buildings, including the 451.9 m (1,483 ft) Petronas Towers.[22]

Despite a great length, Seawise Giant was not the largest ship by gross tonnage, ranking sixth at 260,941 GT, behind the crane ship Pioneering Spirit and the four 274,838 to 275,276 GT Batillus-class supertankers. She was the longest and largest by deadweight: 564,763 tonnes.[23][24]

Seawise Giant was featured on the BBC series Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines while sailing as Jahre Viking. According to her captain, S. K. Mohan, the ship could reach up to 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h) in good weather. It took 9 km (5+12 mi) for the ship to stop from that speed, and the turning circle in clear weather was about 3 km (2 mi).[25]


See also



  1. ^ "JAHRE VIKING (370263)". Port State Information Exchange. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Knock Nevis (94118)". Shippingdatabase.com.
  3. ^ a b "World's largest ship Knock Nevis to be scrapped". Bluepulz. 16 December 2009. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b "20th Century Ships: Seawise Giant (Happy Giant) (Jahre Viking) (Knock Nevis) (Mont)". Relevant Search Scotland. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  5. ^ "The remarkable story of the largest ship ever built". telegraph.co.uk. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e Baljit Singh (11 July 1999). "The world's biggest ship". The Tribune. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  7. ^ Rich Galiano. "Artifacts & Shipwrecks: Tanker". NJScuba.net. Archived from the original on 2 July 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  8. ^ a b "The world's largest ship to be scrapped". Bluepulz. 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  9. ^ a b Bhavnagar (19 December 2009). "Crude oil carrier Mont awaits clearance to dock at Alang". The Indian Express. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  10. ^ Clarkson Research Studies Ltd. (1987). Tanker Register 1987. International Publication Service. ISBN 0-8002-4143-6.
  11. ^ Sandra Burton (23 December 1996). "Beijing's Capitalist". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  12. ^ "The Tung Dynasty". Far Eastern Economic Review. 116 (17): 76–78: 76. 23 April 1982. Like other "Seawise" ships in Tung's fleet, this vessel punned on C. Y.'s initials for its name.
  13. ^ Seawise Giant INC Alumni Association. Retrieved: 24 July 2010. Archived 18 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Iraq Hits 5 Ships in Persian Gulf". The New York Times. 15 May 1988.
  15. ^ "Seawise Giant after the air attack". www.aukevisser.nl. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  16. ^ "Largest Ship in the World".
  17. ^ a b c d John Pike (1 November 2006). "Knock Nevis / ex-Jahre Viking". Global Security. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  18. ^ "Leading Green Ship Recycler in India | Priya Blue". www.priyablue.com. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  19. ^ "World's Largest Ships: Supertanker – Knock Nevis". Maritime Connector. 2010. Archived from the original on 14 August 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Main anchor of the Jahre Viking/Seawise Giant arrives in Hong Kong". Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International. 30 June 2010.
  21. ^ Google (15 September 2020). "Seawise Giant Anchor Coordinates" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Knock Nevis - The world's largest ship ever". Container Transportation. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  23. ^ Shaw, John (May 2018), "Pioneering Spirit: Profile of the World's Biggest Ship", Ships Monthly: 33–37
  24. ^ "Pioneering Spirit". Allseas.com.
  25. ^ Jeremy Clarkson (15 August 2008). "Powerrrrr!: Yara Viking Ship, Largest Man Made Moving Machine on the Planet!". Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines. BBC. Retrieved 14 June 2010.

Further reading


The Jahre Viking