Before the inception of tanker ships in the late 19th century, oil was transported in wooden barrels through barges and break-bulk boats. However, this method posed problems at various levels as they were neither leak-proof nor cost-effective and at the same time laborious. It was the development of the first modern oil tanker, Zoroaster, by Ludwig Nobel, brother of the famous Alfred Nobel that put forth this revolutionary change.
With the advent of tanker ships, this relatively novel idea brought about a sensational metamorphosis in the way bulk transportation of oil or for that matter, any form of liquid or gas was done. Technological advancements led to the development of iron and steel hulls and introduced an effective piping system. As a result, it now allows for the smooth transportation of large quantities of bulk liquid such as oil and gas in hoards.
At present tanker ships are used to carry a wide range of products such as Hydrocarbon products like Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), oil, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), etc., chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, etc., freshwater, wine, molasses, etc.
Following is a list of the top ten largest ship tankers in the world:
1. Universal Leader
Coming under that category of Very Large Crude Oil Carrier (VLCC), with approximately 300,000 dwt, the vessel was christened Universal Leader in a naming ceremony held by the HMM at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME)’s Okpo shipyard in Geoje, Korea. The tanker was built two years ago in the year 2019 and has a gross tonnage of 156,331. The vessel’s Length overall (LOA) is 336 meters and width 60 meters.
Flagged by Panama, the Universal Leader is the first of the five VLCCs as per the contract between HMM and DSME. The vessel is conditioned with a scrubber system as per the IMO environmental regulations and the novel engines will ensure that the fuel consumption is economically best.
2. Shinshu Maru
A tanker vessel delivered in 2019 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the Shinshu Maru was second in the line of 177,000 cubic meters LNG carriers. It has a gross tonnage of 138951 and a summer a dwt of 82287 t. Its LOA is 399.9 meters (about the height of the Empire State Building) and its breadth is 48 meters.
The carrier has four separate moss-type tanks increasing its capacity than the normal standards. Apart from being able to increase the tank ability and therefore being allowed to dock at major LNG terminals, the hull is designed in a way to sustain any major damage to the LNG tanks. One destination of the vessel is the 2016 expanded Panama Canal.
Flagged by the Bahamas, the vessel employs a Dual fuel Diesel (DFD) Engine and is able to use both oil and gas, therefore is fuel-efficient as well.
3. LNG Schneeweisschen
Registered under the flag of Panama and built in the year 2018, the LNG Schneeweisschen has an LOA of 297.9 meters and beam of 47.9 meters. It has exhibited a maximum speed of 22.4 knots.
LNG Schneeweischen is first in the line of LNG Carriers received by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd in their contract with the German Utility group Uniper. It has a tank capacity of 180,000 cubic meters and has a gross tonnage and deadweight of 111,000 and 97,000 respectively.
One of the significant features of Schneeweischen is that it is equipped with a slow-moving two-stroke engine (X-DF) capable of running on natural gas, marine gas oil, and heavy fuel oil. A much more enthralling feature is the Methane Refrigeration System-Full Re-liquefaction (MRS-F) which along with the X_DF engine returns the re-liquefied extra boil-off gas to the LNG cargo tank making it extremely fuel-efficient.