22 Oct 2014
The Matz Maersk Triple E is the biggest ship ever built. It has a wide of 194 feet and a length of more than four football fields. it can carry an astounding 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) cargo containers. And its propellers alone weigh 70 tons each.
It is the latest in a series of 20 super-sized Triple E ships ordered by the Danish cargo shipping company Maersk that will be built at the Daewood Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in Opko, a port in South Korea,by the year 2015. Eight more of the Triple E class ships currently are under construction at the shipyard, which is one of the three largest in the world. The two other members of the “Big Three” shipyards — Hyundai and Samsung — also are located in South Korea.
The ships will service routes along the northern-Europe to Asia route.
Too Big for the Panama Canal
Because 47 feet of the Matz Maersk lies below the water line, it is too large to fit through the Panama Canal — even after it is deepened and widened — but the super-sized Triple E class cargo container ships can squeeze through the Suez Canal, barely.
Alastair Philip Wiper, a photographer and writer, traveled to the Korean shipyard as the ship was being christened and shortly before it was scheduled to travel to Russia. His amazing photos from the journey appear in this month’s edition of Wired magazine.
On his blog, Wiper described his incredulity when arriving at the busy port.
“The shipyard, about an hour from Busan in the south of the country, employees about 46,000 people and could reasonably be described as the world’s biggest Legoland,” Wiper wrote. “Smiling workers cycle around the huge shipyard as massive, abstractly over-proportioned chunks of ships are craned around and set into place. The Triple E is just one small part of the output of the shipyard, as around 100 other vessels including oil rigs are in various stages of completion at any given time.”
One Impressive Ship
Still, the Matz Maersk made for an impressive sight, according to Wiper. He was given a tour of the ship, where he met the ship’s captain, Lars Peter Jensen, who previously had served as captain for four previous “largest ships in the world.”
Only 15 crew members actually work on the ship while it is at sea — living in a living quarters beneath the bridge that includes a small movie theater and a swimming pool.
In the ships cavernous storage hold below deck, 23 rows of cargo containers can be stacked up to 11 levels deep. That’s enough room to store 864 million bananas. On the deck, stacks of up to 10 cargo containers can be stored.
The ship has two engines, each with a total power output of 30,000 kilowatts, giving the ship a top speed of 23 knots, or about 26.5 miles per hour. The engines are a new “greener” design, allowing the vessel to generate 50% less CO2 per container than the average for the Europe to Asia route. Each engine has two four-blade propellers, each with a diameter of 32 feet and weighing more than 154,000 pounds.
The ship took 252,350 gallons of paint to cover its enormous hull. It has 310 miles of electrical cable connecting the bridge to its critical systems.