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Transportation

The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea 275

HughPickens.com writes Alastair Philip Wiper writes that at 194 feet wide and 1,312 feet long, the Matz Maersk Triple E is the largest ship ever built, capable of carrying 18,000 20-foot containers. Its propellers weigh 70 tons apiece and it is too big for the Panama Canal, though it can shimmy through the Suez. A U-shaped hull design allows more room below deck, providing capacity for 18,000 shipping containers arranged in 23 rows – enough space to transport 864 million bananas. The Triple-E is constructed from 425 pre-fabricated segments, making up 21 giant "megablock" cross sections. Most of the 955,250 liters of paint used on each ship is in the form of an anti- corrosive epoxy, pre-applied to each block. Finally, a polyurethane topcoat of the proprietary Maersk brand color "Hardtop AS-Blue 504" is sprayed on.

Twenty Triple-E class container ships have been commissioned by Danish shipping company Maersk Lines for delivery by 2015. The ships are being built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering factory in the South Korean port of Opko. The shipyard, about an hour from Busan in the south of the country, employs about 46,000 people, and "could reasonably be described as the worlds biggest Legoland," writes Wiper. "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 the any time." The vessels will serve ports along the northern-Europe-to-Asia route, many of which have had to expand to cope with the ships' size. "You don't feel like you're inside a boat, it's more like a cathedral," Wiper says. "Imagine this space being full of consumer goods, and think about how many there are on just one ship. Then think about how many are sailing round the world every day. It's like trying to think about infinity."
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:14AM (#48185261)

    Don't these fools know that everything is either 3D printed on site or sent by delivery drone these days?

    • Don't these fools know that everything is either 3D printed on site or sent by delivery drone these days?

      If it can't be done with a Smartphone, it isn't worth doing

    • Actually they missed the boat on this one. They would be better off designing the future of shipping which is a global fleet of ships that autonomously transfer cargo pods mid-transit to optimize deliverr time and reduce the distance and number of trips (hence saving fuel). So just imaging a large ship except it has it's cargo in pods. Two or three ships meet up at locations their AI deem to be most optimal and switch only some of their cargo depending on what is going where and then they continue on. Bette
  • Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:20AM (#48185285)

    20 of the worlds largest vessels, built and delivered in a couple of years, now *thats* a production line worthy of the name!

    The size of the vessel may be whats being pushed as the impressive thing here, but really its the fact that they can push out 13 of these at a time - instant fleet renewal! I can't think of one western shipyard which comes close to that capacity - even the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers are having to be built one after each other due to shipyard limitations, and thats just two vessels, not 13!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, a cargo ship, while impressive, is slightly simpler to design and construct than an aircraft carrier.

      • No, when you are working on such a massive scale they really aren't simpler, the engineering and sheer weights alone are astronomical.

        • No, when you are working on such a massive scale they really aren't simpler, the engineering and sheer weights alone are astronomical.

          For the hull sure, but what about the insides?

        • Not to mention the design challenges when striking a balance between open cargo space and hull supports.
        • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @09:19AM (#48186139) Homepage

          No, when you are working on such a massive scale they really aren't simpler, the engineering and sheer weights alone are astronomical.

          Not really, the numbers are larger but the math is very well understood. This is a very mature industry, perhaps the oldest manufacturing industry in the world. People have been building boats for thousands of years. Ship's aren't redesigned every time one is built either. The bulk of a ship is the exact same "U" profile. Design it once, copy it all down the length of the ship. The bow and the stern are the only complex parts, but contribute little to strength. The bow and stern are generally proven designs which are taken "off the shelf" and adapted to the application with only slight changes. Chopping off the back end of a ship (accommodation, engineering, and propulsion area), refurbishing it, and welding it to a brand new ship hull is not uncommon. Unlike with pleasure craft and cars, "style" has approximately 0 design influence in large ships. Everyone is honing in on the most hydrodynamic designs and you can't copyright the math which describes the curves on a ship.

          I'm onboard the Tolteca right now, built in 1954/1955. When we were in drydock, the only difference between this ship and ships built much more recently is the distinct lack of a bulbous bow, and the use of diesel propulsion engines instead of a steam turbine. [wikipedia.org]

    • by 228e2 ( 934443 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:29AM (#48185331)
      All that mirco-ing in Warcraft/Starcraft is paying off.
    • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:36AM (#48185373)

      Hey, someone has to keep the U.S. and Europe supplied with electronics that we used to make here.

    • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Informative)

      by gyepi ( 891047 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:46AM (#48185443) Homepage
      The dimensions of the Prelude FLNG is 488m x 74m (1,601ft x 243 ft), and thus it is way larger vessel than the Triple E. The hull was already launched last year. The only reason it is not the largest ship is that it does not have its own engines to propel itself.
    • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Informative)

      by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <hackertourist AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:46AM (#48185445)

      Discovery Channel aired a series of programmes [worldslargestship.com] on this project last year. IIRC the main shipyard can house 2 or 3 of these in parallel, not 13. Each ship spends only a few months in this yard (final assembly only). Delivery tempo is one a month.
      Modules are built at various other shipyards.

    • I suspect it is a space limittion more than anything that prevents most western shipyards from building multiple ships that size. While this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org] ship is about half the length is is undeniably large. Had no other ships been being constructed while she was on land the yard could have handled building a second one, and *maybe* a third, but that is unlikely. There just would not have been enough ground to fit them on. Cheap labor long ago reduced shipyards in most western countries

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        I suspect it is a space limittion more than anything that prevents most western shipyards from building multiple ships that size. ...... Cheap labor long ago reduced shipyards in most western countries to building military ships and some extremely spicalised or luxury ships.

        You just contradicted yourself. Western shipyards aren't limited on space. If you have the demand, you can always get more space / capabilities / labor / raw materials. They are limited by demand.

        • I should have stated that it's multiple factors, but space is indeed one for some of the US shipyards:

          This is the Ingalls Shipyard in MS https://www.google.com/maps/pl... [google.com] Where some of the larger military ships are built, I can't tell, not knowing when the photo was taken, but my guess is the large ship in the river to the right is LHA-6 before being turned over to the navy. You can see there just is not space to build many at one time.

          Yes, there are larger shipyards in the US, but many of them are complete

      • Its no longer economical to build these ships in the West, as you said. Maersk, the purchaser of these ships, actually owned a shipyard (Odense) in Europe which it used to build its original E-class ships. Shortly after, that shipyard was put out to pasture. All of the major cargo shipbuilders are located in Asia, like Hyundai Heavy and Daewoo. These things take a lot of labor to manufature.

    • While obviously not as impressive in size (441 ft.), the Liberty ship [wikipedia.org] could be built surprisingly fast. As a publicity stunt, they built one in 4 days, 15.5 hours. The average build time was 42 days, and in 1940, they produced 200 ships in a year. Impressive what countries can do during wartime.
    • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:5, Informative)

      by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) <henrikstevn @ g mail.com> on Monday October 20, 2014 @08:06AM (#48185583)

      It's bullshit that they're building them in Korea, though.

      We have perfectly capable, world-class shipyards in Denmark, practically begging to take on these kinds of tasks. In the old days, when Arnold Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller still ran the company, these orders would have gone to Danish companies. No more, now everything is outsourced to the lowest bidder.

      • Why should it not be? As long as the Koreans can build the ship to the same specs as the Danes, I don't see why the jobs should go to one country over the other. Giving the jobs to Danes might mean that they have more jobs and more money to spend, but it would also mean that shipping costs would go up. As a country that is highly reliant on trade with other countries, they should want shipping costs to remain low.
      • South Korea is hardly the third world. If Danish shipyards can't beat them on price, why not?

        • Because A.P Møller-Mærsk used to a point of pride for Denmark. One of our biggest companies and a big international player with influence all over the world, and they supported little ol' Denmark by making use of local labor and expertise, sponsoring public projects and *gasp* paying their taxes. It was a fully-sustainable business approach, and supported hundreds of other Danish companies, not to mention thousands of Danish shipbuilders, often lauded as the very best in the world.

          South Korea is d

        • Re:Ho-lee-crap (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:02AM (#48186493)

          It wasn't long ago that South Korea wasn't so advanced, and Daewoo was corrupt.

          The national identity has been trying to raise standards in everything, but it still has horrible reminders of its recent past. The Sewoul disaster where hundreds died needlessly, the subway crash where 200 people died, the recent collapse of a sidewalk grate where 16 concert goers just... died.

          By "national identity" I mean the health, safety and anticorruption standards are considered part of the national identity and distinct from the standards of many neighbouring countries.

          In the past 20 years Korea has been rebuilding everything and has good standards. These stories are making the country obsessive over safety and quality, but there's still junk from the recent past, or people who are wrapped in nepotism and corruption who shouldn't be responsible for anything involving public safety, but can't be removed.

          As long as the ship builders are not part of that past, then it's a boon for the country and another milestone for Korea's advancement.

      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 )

        Inflation and higher cost of living means they have to pay higher wages.

        I'm super concerned with that, because the super rich people begin to have issues if they have only two private jets instead of 4, and they might have to purchase a smaller private island if they were forced to work inside the country they're extracting money from.

    • More like Park Ho Li am I right.

  • If they forgot to add toilets.

  • by smileytshirt ( 988345 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:32AM (#48185355) Homepage
    enough space to transport 864 million bananas

    I'm so happy to see we have finally converted to the banana scale. I've been waiting for this since horsepower was invented!
    • by c ( 8461 )

      enough space to transport 864 million bananas

      I'm so happy to see we have finally converted to the banana scale. I've been waiting for this since horsepower was invented!

      Just think... now we're just a double entendre away from the "shlong scale".

    • MegaBananas are the SI equivalent of the Libraries of Congress that the knuckle-dragging Americans still use. Get with the rest of the world, people!

      • MegaBananas are the SI equivalent of the Libraries of Congress that the knuckle-dragging Americans still use. Get with the rest of the world, people!

        Well just how many Libraries of Congress can it hold? As an American I won't be able to truly comprehend until it's measured in Libraries of Congress.

        • 1 Library of congress = 180,3 MegaBananas

          (Using 878.835g as the average book weight and 115g for the average banana.)

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      enough space to transport 864 million bananas I'm so happy to see we have finally converted to the banana scale. I've been waiting for this since horsepower was invented!

      Maybe someone thought they were being clever, but in reality they are just very ignorant. Bananas are almost always transported by vertically-integrated companies who own their own ships. It's like this because generally Bananas are coming from a port which has little to ship aside from bananas, and the bananas generally go to a small number of special ripening warehouses where they ripen for a while. They're a kind of special cargo, not a general cargo to be put on any container ship. Just as an exampl

  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:38AM (#48185379)

    enough space to transport 864 million bananas

    Yes, I too calculate volumes in MegaBananas.

    Except for astronavegation, where I base all my calculations on Earth's volume of 1.086 PetaBananas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 )
      It is a convenient standard unit. Inexpensive and tasty. Can be used for measuring mass, volume, friction (obviously), and radiactivity (due to its high potassium content). A chest X-ray is equivalent to 70,000 bananas.
      • It is a convenient standard unit. Inexpensive and tasty. Can be used for measuring mass, volume, friction (obviously), and radiactivity (due to its high potassium content). A chest X-ray is equivalent to 70,000 bananas.

        Given the other sub-thread asking about the conversion to Libraries of Congress, apparently it can be used to measure data content as well.

  • Surely the Jahre Viking (one of many names) remains the largest ship ever built? Longer and wider.

  • Ship breaking is very tedious process:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_breaking

    Why no to build-in capabilities for a ship to break itself easily?
    • Why no to build-in [sic] capabilities for a ship to break itself easily?

      Because it might then break itself while it's underway, rather than waiting until it got to the shipyard?

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      Ship breaking is very tedious process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org] Why no to build-in capabilities for a ship to break itself easily?

      Because it adds cost. When a ship has reached the end of its useful life, it's value is approximately the (ship mass * the price of steel). Labor in 3rd world countries is so cheap that it doesn't factor into the equation much. You would never see any return on that investment.

      • by Max_W ( 812974 )
        I saw how they break ships in a documentary. It is not a ecologically safe process. There is a lot of oxy-fuel cutting, burning, dumping, etc.

        I watched and thought: "This is wrong. Why not use some module architecture?"
        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          Again, it's the third world. The only thing they care less about than their employee's wages is the environmental damage.

          Taking apart a multi thousand ton machine that has been in operation for decades will never be a clean process. You can contain the contamination with a lot of work, but it's never going to be a clean process.
  • ... they're worrying a bit about the sea-level when they put it to water.

  • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:49AM (#48185461)

    The Maersk E class is the largest currently in service, and the largest container ships ever built, but they're definitely not the largest ships ever built. On either length, or gross tonnage, there have been a number of tankers which are quite a bit bigger, although none are still in service.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by jcdr ( 178250 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:56AM (#48185515)

    FTFY

  • Fun facts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <hackertourist AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Monday October 20, 2014 @07:57AM (#48185527)

    The Triple-E is unusual in several aspects apart from its size.
    1. It has 2 engines instead of one. This improves packaging (less volume lost to the engine room), mainly because the engines are shorter (8 cylinders in line instead of 14). Earlier ships had one engine to reduce complexity.
    2. It's slower, with an operational speed of 35 km/h (down from 45 km/h of its predecessor). This saves fuel.

  • Found the address on their website: 3370 Geoje-daero, Geoje-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea

    Googled for "Opko, South Korea" and it took me to a city called "Mopko" which is far away.

  • Larry Ellison doesn't have a boat that comes close to that. C'mon Larry, you're losing your Mojo dude! And its made in Korea!

    Of course his (Russian) Mig29 could probably sink it.

    What's it gonna be Larry? Are you gonna kick ass or chew gum?

  • Most of the 955,250 liters of paint used on each ship is in the form of an anti- corrosive epoxy, pre-applied to each block. Finally, a polyurethane topcoat of the proprietary Maersk brand color "Hardtop AS-Blue 504" is sprayed on.

    Can't we get the same thing for our cars? Is it available at some professional paint shops?

    • Well, you CAN, but when some Danish guy shows up, hands you a package, and demands you drive it to its destination, don't complain to me.

    • That paint is really thick, really heavy, and actually quite expensive. The point is to reduce drag in the water, and more importantly, to prevent buildup of barnacles, which ruin fuel efficiency. The cost isn't worth the benefit on cars.

  • Here at maersk We've dreamed of a futuristic system, perhaps a ship of some sort, that could in theory transport 864 million delicious bananas. The future is here and its an amazing time to be alive. We've found ourselves at the pinnacle of banana transport systems with this new ship, and we've chosen to push the envelope in unimagineable ways. Maersk hopes to deliver, on our glistening fleet of 20 new ships, 17,280 billion delicious, yellow bananas. Imagine it: bananas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, an
  • "Okpo" not "Opko". (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zanadou ( 1043400 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @08:38AM (#48185803)

    Both this and the original source at Wired have the name of the Korean place wrong, it's "Okpo" [wikipedia.org], not "Opko".

    Signed, your local friendly Korean geography nazi.

  • There, let me put that song back into your head.

    Did anyone say smiling workers at Legoland? "Everything is awesome" is the first thing I thought about.

  • So it can carry 20,000 containers. A better question would be how many WILL it carry? 30,000? 40,000?
  • Last I knew these mega ships emit staggering amounts of CO2 because their giant engines burn the cheapest dirtiest fuel possible.
    I think it's time to rethink civilian nuclear power for mega ships.
    • While they emit a large amount of CO2 they make much better use of their fuel than smaller ships. The correct metric is how many tons of cargo can be moved 1 mile on one gallon of fuel. This is the best way to gauge such things and given that this is suppose to release 50% less CO2 than other ships I would assume it is based off of that metric.
    • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:04AM (#48186507)

      The world's 15 largest ships do emit more sulfur than all the world's automobiles. http://www.gizmag.com/shipping... [gizmag.com]

      However for carbon dioxide they only emit a third as much as all the world's cars.

    • The CO2 emissions have little to do with impurities in the fuel. They emit so much CO2 because they require a lot of power for propulsion. The Triple-E is a lot more efficient than the previous generation of ships, so CO2 emissions are some 20% lower despite carrying more containers.

  • It's interesting that the shipping industry never seems to learn. They continue to bring on more and more capacity while shipping prices are at historic lows.

    Perhaps the plan is to flood the market with even cheaper capacity and drive a bunch of competition out of business so they can raise rates later... Then the cycle will start all over again.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@NOspAm.tedata.net.eg> on Monday October 20, 2014 @09:23AM (#48186173) Journal

    Did anyone else think that, when they saw the second photo [wired.com] on the Wired.com article [wired.com] that some awkward conversation took place prior to the photo that went something like this:

    Photographer: "Tell your worker there to look busy. I need photos for the article."
    Manager: "What do you want him to do?"
    Photographer: "I don't know! What does that machine do over there?"
    Manager: "That's our automated steel blaster."
    Photographer: "That sounds important. Have your guy go over there and operate it."
    Manager: "But it's fully automated. Everything's set the way it needs to be."
    Photographer: "But I need -something-! Just have him stand next to it and look like he's reconfiguring it."
              Manager to Technician: "Technician, go over to the panel and look busy."
              Technician: "Sir, I don't work on this machine. And there are signs all over it saying 'Do Not Touch!'"
              Manager: "I don't care! This American fool needs a photo!"
              Technician: "How foolish! The entire system is automated! Did you tell him this?"
              Manager: "Of course I did! He didn't listen."
              Technician: "What am I supposed to do then?"
              Manager: "I don't know! Just go over there and look like you're pushing a button."
              Technician: "But I don't want to break the machine! It is a masterpiece!"
              Manager: "Fine, fine, just, um, just point at the button with your finger. And touch the button. Yes, yes, that looks convincing."
              Technician: "Does it really look like I'm pressing it?"
              Manager: "No, you look stupid. But just stay there, like that, alright?"
              Technician: "Stupid Americans. No wonder their economy sucks."

  • Why would the post link to Wired, which reads more like a paen to the photographer?
    Instead, go to the photographer's blog directly http://alastairphilipwiper.com... [alastairphilipwiper.com] sheesh.

  • Are they building these ships with plastic? I think not. Then surely it is more like Meccano (or Erector Set to the yanks).
  • Is this one big enough to be a real Biblical ARK? Probably still not large enough to carry two of every species, but still fun to calculate how close it would come to that goal. I'm guessing (seat of the pants/armchair calculation) we are roughly about half the way there if we discount things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses (the actual majority of lifeforms on earth). Waste disposal would be one heck of a problem, and with only one window, to shovel it out, yikes!.
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:27AM (#48186695) Homepage

    And I cannot lie.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -- Winston Churchill

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