Queen Mary

The World’s Biggest Boats

Do you know that more than 90 percent of transported goods in the world are carried by boats? Not just ordinary boats, mind you, but the world’s biggest boats. These include cruise liners, oil tankers and cargo carriers. All have enormous propulsion systems that keep them moving across oceans for months. 

Many of these colossal machines have fuel-efficient diesel engines to help minimise carbon dioxide emissions. Some have hybrid systems, while others are wind, solar, and nuclear powered. Regardless of their engines, they have spectacular engineering that will leave anyone in awe.

There have been a number of well-known giant sea-travellers, aside from the Titanic, of course. If you’re up for it, we’ll have a trip in history to review eight of the world’s biggest boats!

1. USS Enterprise (CVN-65)

Let’s start by going back to 1962 when the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) first hit the waters of America. It used to be the largest warship in existence, and carried nuclear-powered aircraft during its operations.

Nicknamed “Big E”, it was also the longest naval ship ever built, measuring about 342 metres or 1,122 feet long. The ship had a capacity of up to 4,600 navy personnel while cruising at 33.6 knots or 62.2 km/h. It had a great history with U.S Navy operations for almost 6 decades, including its deployment for the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Although the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was decommissioned in 2017, it remains the longest U.S aircraft carrier in history.

2. Knock Nevis

Fast forward to 1979, when one of the next world’s biggest boats was built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Japan. Called the Knock Nevis (originally named Oppama), it was a ULCC oil tanker and was the largest moving man-made object on Earth.

It is also the longest ship that was ever built in history. “How long?” you may ask. Well, Knock Nevis was longer than the height of the 102-story Empire State Building, which translates to 458.45 metres or 1,504 feet long. Impressive, right? Not only that, this supertanker had a capacity of up to 546,763 tonnes and 339,500 square feet of deck space.

Knock Nevis sunk in 1988 after getting hit by parachute bombs during the Iran-Iraq war. Despite suffering a total loss, it was salvaged and repaired by Norman International, who bought the shipwreck and renamed it Happy Giant. The ownership of this giant water vessel changed 4 times over the next 13 years until the final owner renamed it Mont. It was decommissioned in 2009.

3. Club Med 2

Next on our world’s biggest boats list is a 14,984 tonne-cruise ship, the Club Med 2. It’s also one of the world’s largest sail ships and can lodge 386 passengers and 214 crew members.

The Club Med 2 was launched in 1992 in Le Havre, France by Club Med, an all-inclusive holiday company. It measures about 194 metres or 636 feet in length and is powered by seven computer-operated sails, along with 2 electric motors powered by four diesel generators. Currently, Club Med 2 sails the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea during summer, the Caribbean in winter, and the Atlantic Ocean during spring and autumn.

Club Med 2
Club Med 2. Image Courtesy ClubMed

4. RMS Queen Mary 2

Built in 2003, Queen Mary 2 or QM2 is the largest ocean liner ever built and as of 2019, the only one that does ocean cruise. Measuring 345 metres in length, it was also once the longest and largest passenger ship to date.

One of the world’s largest vessels, it has fifteen restaurants and bars, a planetarium, a casino, a theatre, a ballroom, and five swimming pools. QM2 also has thousands of first-class passenger and crew cabins to accommodate up to 2,695 passengers along with its 1,253 officers and crew.

Right now, the RMS Queen Mary 2 does transatlantic voyages from Southampton, England to New York, U.S.A. It’s also used as a passenger cruise ship during the annual world cruise.

Queen Mary
The Queen Mary 2. Image Courtesy QM2.

5. TI Class Supertankers

In 2003, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korea built the next entries on our list. We mention ‘entries’ because we are referring to four of the largest oil tankers today: the TI Africa, TI Asia, TI Europe, and TI Oceania. Collectively, they are called the TI Class Supertankers, a product of Tankers International LLC.

Although each supertanker only measures 380 metres in length, every one of them has a tonnage of 234,006 GT while cruising at 16.5 knots at full capacity. These oil tankers are dual-hulled, which is a safer design for vessels transporting oil in long distances. In 2010, both TI Africa and TI Asia were converted as Floating, Storage, and Offloading (FSO) vessels, while the TI Oceana and TI Europe remain as oil tankers.

The TI Europe
The TI Europe. Image courtesy Marine Insight

6. CSCL Globe

A more recent addition to the world’s biggest boats category is the CSCL Globe. Constructed in 2014, it’s also the biggest ship for container transport in the world, with a capacity of 19,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container ships.

CSCL Globe is powered by a 77,200 bhp electronically-controlled diesel engine, which burns 20 percent less fuel compared to container ships of the same capacity. It has a length of 399.67 metres and currently has a home port in Hong Kong.

CSCL Globe
CSCL Globe. Image courtesy Wikipedia

7. Qatar Max Ships

From a container carrier, let’s go to liquefied natural gas carriers named Q-Max ships. This is a collection of 14 gas tankers that measure 345 metres in length, 34.7 metres in height, and 53.8 metres wide each. All have a draught of 12 metres or 39 feet. They are the world’s biggest boats in their category.

Each Q-Max tanker can travel at 19.5 knots and has a capacity of 266,000 cubic metres, which is equivalent to 161,994,000 cubic metres of liquefied gas. All of the Q-Max Ships were built for Nakilat (Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd.) by Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding of Korea. The 14 Q-Max ships are the largest ships that can dock at Qatar’s LNG terminals.

Q Max Vessel
Q Max Vessel. Image courtesy Marine Insight

8. Oasis of the Seas

One of the four Oasis Class ships from Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, is the largest cruise ship that exists today. Built in 2009, it measures 360 metres in length and has a maximum capacity of 6,296 passengers on top of its 2,394 crew members. This cruise ship has a speed of 22.6 knots and a gross tonnage of 225,282 GT.

The Oasis of the Seas has the best recreational facilities for holidaymakers on board. From a 25-metre zip line to an ice-skating rink, a full-sized basketball court to rock-climbing walls; families will be surely entertained on their week-long Caribbean cruise.

Oasis of the Seas is the most expensive commercial ship ever built at US$1.24 billion estimated cost.

oasis of the seas
Oasis of the Seas.

Get your new boat with Boat Finance

So, there you have it, eight of the world’s largest boats! As marine technology and engineering advances, we’re sure that this list will grow along with the size of new vessels being built!

These kinds of ships are reserved for major industries, however if you’re looking to captain your own vessel then get in touch with the crew at BoatFinance.com.au. We can help source a great deal on marine finance for any sized boat. Fill out our easy online application today.