Sunday 22 May 2016

A Short History of Long Ships

With the recent maiden voyage of "MS Harmony of the Seas," there's been a lot of talk in the press about large and long ships. So here's my attempt at a summary:

The blue whale is the largest extant animal.

La Santa María, launched in 1460, was largest of three ships used by Christopher Columbus to cross the Atlantic for the first time in 1492. She ran aground later in 1492.

The Nao Victoria, launched in 1519, was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. She disappeared in 1570.

HMS Victory, launched in 1765, was Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. She is still in service.

SS Great Western, launched in 1837, was the largest passenger ship until 1839. She was broken up in 1856.

SS Great Britain, launched in 1843, was the longest passenger ship until 1854. She was finally scuttled in the Falklands in 1937.

SS Great Eastern, launched in 1858, was the longest ship built of any type until 1899. She was scrapped in 1889.

RMS Titanic, launched in 1911, was the largest ship afloat until she sunk on her maiden voyage in 1912.

RMS Queen Elizabeth, launched in 1938, was the largest (by displacement) passenger liner for almost fifty years. She finally caught fire and sunk in Hong Kong harbour in 1975.

USS Iowa, launched in 1942 and now a museum ship, is the longest battleship ever built. The Japanese Yamato was more massive, but slightly shorter.

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, launched in 1960, is the longest naval vessel ever built. She was decommissioned in 2012, but, being nuclear powered, she will take a long time to be completely dismantled.

SS France, launched in 1960, took over from RMS Queen Elizabeth as being the longest passenger ship. She was sold for scrap in 2005.

Batillus, launched in 1976, was the largest supertanker by gross tonnage ever built. She was scrapped in 1976.

Seawise Giant, launched in 1979, was the longest ship ever built. She was scrapped in 2010.

Dmitri Donskoi, launched in 1980, is a Typhoon-class submarine, the largest in the world. She is still in active service.

RMS Queen Mary 2, launched in 2003, is the largest ocean liner ever built. She is still in service.

Vale Brasil, launched in 2010, is the largest bulk carrier ever built. She is still in service.

Pieter Schelte, launched in 2013, is the largest vessel ever constructed in terms of gross tonnage, breadth and displacement. She is still in service.

MV Barzan, launched in 2014, is the largest container ship ever built. She is still in service.

MS Harmony of the Seas, launched in 2015, is the largest passenger ship in the world by gross tonnage. She entered service in May 2016.

The maximum length of ships in service is usually limited by canal sizes and port facilities.

See here for a larger image.