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World's Largest Ship Floated For the First Time 166

Zothecula writes "A ship with a hull longer than the Empire State Building is tall has been floated out of dry dock in Geoje, South Korea. Measuring 488 m (1,601 ft) long and 74 m (243 ft) wide, the hull belongs to Shell's Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, which upon completion will be the largest floating facility ever built."
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World's Largest Ship Floated For the First Time

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  • by Stolpskott ( 2422670 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:09AM (#45605973)

    As it has no motive power of its own (it has to be towed into position), it is not really a ship. But it is still a really cool feat of engineering, designed to ride out the typhoon season off the Australian coast and keep LNG production going for 25 years or so...
    However, Shell are apparently building an even bigger one as well. Maybe they are trying to have a ship that is longer than the Burj Khalifa? ;)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So it's an artificial island?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:25AM (#45606033)

      RTFA: "three 6,700-hp thrusters at the rear of the Prelude"

      Just because they're not intended for transportation doesn't mean they're not there.

      • That's like hooking a horse up to a car without an engine and saying its intended for transportation. Container ships around 80% of that size need an order of magnitude more horsepower to function.

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          but that's exactly what some people in developing countries do and it's for transportation and it's a CARriage so uhh ah.

          it doesn't need to work as a container ship and I didn't think it was said to be, but it fills the tickboxes for a boat..

          sure it isn't going far in a hurry but still.

      • Like standing on the stern of the Tirpitz and farting.

      • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @10:22AM (#45607309)

        RTFA: "three 6,700-hp thrusters at the rear of the Prelude"

        That Honda must go hella fast, unless it has to haul your mom around.

      • He didn't say it didn't have thrusters - he said it wasn't (or didn't appear to be) self propelled. Two very different things.

        And he's correct, if it's not self propelled, it's not a ship - it's a barge.

    • World's biggest raft?

      World's biggest pontoon?
    • by Stoopiduk ( 1593855 ) <> on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:48AM (#45606101)

      Prelude has three 6,700 horsepower thrusters for weathervaning. Mightn't be the best way of getting it around, but if they can pivot the bugger about the mooring turret, I'm sure they could move it around in some dreadfully slow and awkward fashion.

      • by flyneye ( 84093 )

        Like a 76 Chrysler New Yorker with a 225 slant 6 cyl....
        It's a Low Rider.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          Like a 76 Chrysler New Yorker with a 225 slant 6 cyl

          A friend if mine had a Canadian-market '68 Dodge Polara fastback that had been imported to the United States. He bought for his first-time-driver son, it came factory-equipped with the RG 225ci slant six. He pulled the factory motor and dropped in a G 170ci slant six and put in shorter gears in the differential, he didn't want him going too fast. Car strained to reach 65mph on the freeway.

          His son wasn't real happy with him for a long time over that.

          • by flyneye ( 84093 )

            LOL not a lot of lowriders in Canada, eh?
            Not a bad idea, but , I'd be afraid of the kid not being able to accelerate from danger.
            I bet it got great gas mileage for the boat it was too. Probably the biggest help to the kid.

    • The article is light on details but it does mention the vessel having three thrusters at the rear. Not clear whether those are just for direction control or if they can be used to move the whole vessel.

  • by meglon ( 1001833 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:16AM (#45605995)
    ....floats your boat.
  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:17AM (#45605997)

    It's not the size of the ship, it's the motion in the ocean....

    Apparently, it *is* all about the size of the ship!

    • Even funnier that it's the South Koreans proving that they do indeed have the

  • amazing indeed (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Raf ( 2925113 )
    I'm cucurious what these types of floating superstructures do to the ecology around them. The environmental impact of their sheer existence in the water is potentially staggering.
    • Interesting question - the mooring points are likely to have a direct impact wherever they're attached to the seabed, as will all of the subsea equipment and the engineering work to secure them in place.

      The platform itself will, I imagine, have a minimal impact aside from noise and vibration. There have been whispers of regulating ship noise and vibration for the protection of the marine environment at IMO for some time, but nothing has come forward yet or is likely to in the next couple of years.

      There will

    • Re:amazing indeed (Score:5, Informative)

      by WWJohnBrowningDo ( 2792397 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @06:52AM (#45606321)

      Do you even know how offshore natural gas is processed?

      Natural gas is pressurized at the offshore platform and pumped all the way to the shore using a long pipeline. Then an onshore LNG processing plant cleans and liquefies it and pump it back out to LNG tankers.

      This thing is designed to replace the long undersea pipeline and the onshore LNG processing plant and its associated dock. One of the reasons why this monstrosity is being built is precisely because it's more environmentally friendly than the alternative. A single offshore facility can replace multiple onshore facilities since the offshore facility is mobile.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      Certainly in the Gulf of Mexico, the various platforms and structures provide a pretty rich environment for marine life. The best fishing spots are all near the various platforms since the underwater parts of their structures provide places for various plants and animals to make their homes (and thus attracting the fish that feed of this). I would imagine the mooring points for this barge will do the same.

      Of course it all goes horribly wrong for this environment if there is a spill.

      • More for the life in the air and on land than the stuff in the water. A spill of LNG would boil pretty rapidly and gas off primarily methane into the atmosphere. Methane is lighter than air, so it would quickly rise and lead to an increase in the greenhouse effect until broken down. GLOBAL WARMING ALARM!!!

        Unless there is an ignition source... In that case, BOOM!

  • by antsbull ( 2648931 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:23AM (#45606021)
    I saw a documentary on them a couple of nights ago, and this shipyard is averaging a super-tanker every 3.5 days if you divide the number of super-tankers they will build this year. Absolutely stunning the technology, skills, planning and productivity that they are managing there. This wouldn't be achievable in a western country thanks to unions and the terrible productivity and project overruns that come with western societies.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      True. It is only possible with far eastern slave labor.

      • These slaves have the best internet connectivity on the planet!
        Panem et circenses to the Nth power!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I suppose unions can point to their triumphs in Detroit instead.
      • That's not how shipbuilding works. The cheapest labour is not a way to success. Chinese yards are generally not as successful as the Korean and Singaporean yards that pay better, are more efficient and more advanced.

        Ship owners can ill-afford to have shoddily-built ships anymore, especially in the tanker sector if they're looking to work with the oil majors.

        • by _Spirit ( 23983 )

          These shipyards also can't cut any corners with worker safety. The Shell HSSE officer wasn't in the video for laughs. He's on site to ensure that they work according to Shell's global safety guidelines which are better than the standard that a lot of companies in the west have locally.

          These guys are taken seriously because not complying with their instructions can potentially lose the shipyard its contract. (and yes Shell actually terminates contracts for that reason, it's not like the major electronics man

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      they do a 100 super tankers in a year? []

      care to link to that documentary, since that list is awful short compared to them pumping out 100 of world biggest class tankers in a year. at 1 billion a pop that's 100 billion for the shipyard.......

      • by Sique ( 173459 )
        If you look at the list, a) it mentions being totally incomplete and b) look at the BP tankers alone, each line consists of several ships in the same class.
    • These things get built while lawyers in the US are still filing delays over environmental impact statements in the US.

      True story: Lawyers have been fighting longer, delaying the dredging of some bays in the US, to make them 5 feet deeper, so they can accommodate the new "Superpanamax" ships (the Panama canal is being expanded on the max size it can handle) than the original Panama Canal took to build.

      Meanwhile, China is building an even bigger canal next door, for even bigger ships.

      The US has lost, because

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Thursday December 05, 2013 @09:17AM (#45606871) Homepage Journal

      SK has unions. Also French and Japanese companies seem to be able to build things on time and on budget. Ditto the Germans, who are also unionised.

      It's a cultural thing, nothing to do with unions.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ebno-10db ( 1459097 )

        Why should reality stand in the way of ideology?

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        And there's two sides to the cultural thing -- management is an equal player in the push-pull with unions and bears some responsibility for the things typically blamed on unions.

      • by Quila ( 201335 )

        Unions here work to screw the employer over the most for the benefit of the workers. Unions there work with the company to ensure the long-term survival of everybody. In Germany, when business was slow unions agreed to hour cuts at an auto plant in order to keep it open, but they kept benefits and job security. In the US they would have stood fast demanding raises until the plant got shut down and production moved to Mexico.

  • This is what you can build when you have real money, a real business model and a real plan instead of just a fantasy of a libertarian utopia.

    • Yes, companies with billions of dollars can build bigger things than people with less money. You've shaken my perceptions of seasteading (whatever that is) to the core.

      • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @06:46AM (#45606293)

        It's a movement that aims to escape the reach of existing governments by setting up semi-autonomous permanent settlements at sea. A mixture of libertarian idealists ('A place free from overgrown government, where the right of individuals to live free is valued!') and free market enterprise idealists ('A place where we can locate our call centers and offices free from taxation, minimum wage, health and safety and working hours regulations.').

        The only group with a halfway-viable business plan are Blueseed, who hope to use their ship as a legal workaround for US immigration law - station it just in international water, allowing people 'visiting' the country on a tourist visa to commute by ferry and technically not be illegally working in the US. It's not attracted enough investment, because it's a high-risk venture: Even if the ship works and is financially viable, it's likely the government would act quickly to change the law and close this 'loophole.'

        • That concept would make more sense in an area where living on land is super cheap and working on the flaoting island pays you considerably high.

          I mean, why should *I* as a german work on such an island and just earn a *normal* US wage and then spen that *in the US*?

          The only interesting point here would be the taxing ...

          • Let’s see – “normal German wages” is what? No minimum wage. Over a million earn less than 5 euro an hour. And you can’t buy (and thus play) Castle Wolfenstein?

            I kid, of course. Seasteadings only works if one is hard core liberation. It is more of a philosophical statement (or is it theological statement?) then a rational economic plan.

            • Well, assuming on such a sea installation people do high quality IT / programming / art jobs, the normal wage is around $100,000. (Ofc they need a few "workers" that likely get even less than $5 an hour)

              My point was: paying no taxes, because truly working off shore is one benefit. However more interesting is having also a low cost of living, like e.g. in Thailand.

              On the other hand working offshore in front of the US coast has the benefit of health care on land, and ofc. living in a more or less first world

          • Suppose you were german but had gone to a big US university (say MIT), while you are there you made contacts and wanted to start a buisness together. You also learnt how things are done in the US.

            If you want to start the buisness in the US then you have to get a work visa for the US (much harder than a student visa or a buisness visa). If you go back to Europe you have the reverse problem, you will have to somehow get your american co-entrepreneurs into europe. You will also have to deal with doing things t

        • use their ship as a legal workaround for US immigration law

          What a shame we won't put the navy to good use. It would also be a great opportunity to test the Mk 48 ADCAP under real conditions.

          • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:42PM (#45608805)

            There are easier ways. The UK had a very similar situation once - pirate radio ships in the 60s. Stations were broadcasting from international water. This created a problem for the government: They were causing interference to commercial stations, blatantly infringing copyright, and had a tendency to say very offensive things that would get 'legitimate' stations in trouble. Yet they were legally untouchable. The government's solution was simple: Siege. They made it a crime for anyone to provide any service to these boats, including transportation or sale of goods. Thus the pirates couldn't come ashore (They'd be arrested), and their supporters couldn't deliver supplies (they'd be arrested upon return), and eventually the ships would run out of food for the crew and fuel for the transmitter.

            The same approach would work against a hypothetical Blueseed-like ship: Simply make it illegal to travel outside the US to work while in the US on a visitor or student visa. The workers can still go out to work, but they can't come back without being arrested. If they start doing anything illegal enough to really upset the powers that be (Counterfeit goods manufacture, drug production, unlicensed radio station operation, etc) then they can be shut down by the siege approach.

        • by bmajik ( 96670 )

          You're actually missing an important aspect of sea-steading.

          One implementation of seasteading calls for smaller groups (nuclear or extended families, lets say) to have their own independently float-able barge/ship/unit/whatever.

          One of the key problems with soil-based governments is that your neighbors (and hence, their bad politics) are "sticky" -- its hard for you to control who your neighbors are, and since they always manage to impose their will upon you, this is the practical limit to freedom for land-b

        • I think the idea that one's homeland would be a profitable business venture privately-held by investors in another country says a lot about libertarians.

    • dont worry, it will be used as a commodity market instrument by people that never really worked they entire life []

      • by people that never really worked [in their] entire life

        That's the politics of envy. Screwing people and pushing propaganda are hard work. I think the Koch's and their ilk are undercompensated. You should get on your knees and thank [insert preferred deity] for these job creators.

    • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 )

      ......And you don't have a greedy, egotistical douche bag looking to maximize profits in the short term for shareholders (his/her buddies) and bail out when the seas get rough (e.g. after they are done fucking every last penny out of the company).

      The Asians have a sense of honor in their society and that is what makes them successful. A large, long lasting and profitable company that takes pride in its work is worth more to a CEO than the bottom line or how big his yacht is or how many whores he can screw.

      • A large, long lasting and profitable company that takes pride in its work is worth more to a CEO than the bottom line or how big his yacht is or how many whores he can screw.

        Either that, or the board, the stockholders, and the employees keep his ass in line.

  • Call me when they levitate that thing.
  • Are there any emission or pollution laws that are enforceable when you're on international seas?
    • Yup, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has a growing list of environmental regulations that apply to every ship in the world.

      Most people will be surprised how good oil companies are when it comes to employing decent, environmental sound ships for their projects. Generally the majors don't have their own fleets now, so charter in tonnage, and have very high standards and a ridiculous number of inspections for the vessels they employ.

      Admittedly, this is largely because they have caused some huge c

  • It bothers me people easily cast aside traditions and commonly accepted norms and blithely and almost nonchalantly use new yardsticks. There is a 3000 year old tradition to describe un-powered floating tubs by saying how many cubits long, how many cubits wide and how many cubits tall these tubs are.

    Well, at least they could have used the next best length unit, football fields. But, no, they would not use something so familiar to us and readily imaginable by all of us as the lengths football fields. True,

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      One of my favorites was listening to a news anchor describe the wall of water in the 2011 Japan Tsunami. "The water was twice as tall as I would be if I stood on Gary's [my co-anchor's] shoulders."

  • I'm pretty sure that the world's largest ship has floated before.
  • Meh, tell me when it sinks. Now that is a news story.

  • by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 ) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:23PM (#45608627)

    I was sent a video of this happening at work yesterday: []

    The time lapse makes it look kinda like stop-motion, but it is pretty cool to see something that big start to move.

  • Although it might not have been the reason for not including a way of moving on its own, as an anti piracy ploy, this might have merit. One of the first things that pirates do when capturing a ship is to move it to a frindly port. Without engines, it is much more difficult to do that. The pirates would have to take over not just the barge-supertanker but at the same time take over the tug. If more than one tugboat is needed to move the barge the pirates problems become much harder because they will have

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.