Comparison of bounding box of Suezmax with some other ship sizes in isometric view
Suezmax is a naval architecture term for the largest ship measurements capable of transiting the Suez Canal in a laden condition, and is almost exclusively used in reference to tankers. Since the canal has no locks, the only serious limiting factors are draft (maximum depth below waterline), and height because of the Suez Canal Bridge. The current channel depth of the canal allows for a maximum of 20.1 metres (66 ft) of draft, meaning that a few fully laden supertankers are too deep to fit through, and either have to unload part of their cargo to other ships ("transhipment") or to a pipeline terminal before passing through, or alternatively avoid the Suez Canal and travel around Cape Agulhas instead. The canal was deepened in 2009 from 18 to 20 metres (59 to 66 ft).
The typical deadweight of a Suezmax ship is about 160,000 tons and typically has a beam (width) of 50 m (164.0 ft). Also of note is the maximum head room—"air draft"—limitation of 68 m (223.1 ft), resulting from the 70 metres (230 ft) height above water of the Suez Canal Bridge. Suez Canal Authority produces tables of width and acceptable draft, which are subject to change. From 2010, the wetted surface cross sectional area of the ship is limited by 1006 m2, which means 20.1 metres (66 ft) of draught for ships with the beam no wider than 50.0 m (164.0 ft) or 12.2 metres (40 ft) of draught for ships with maximum allowed beam of 77.5 metres (254 ft).