China has just delivered the MSC Tessa container ship to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
The colossal 400-metre vessel was independently designed by shipwright, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, and the company says it is the now largest container ship in the world, at an estimated capacity of 24 116 containers.
The impressive boxship was ordered by the Chinese Bank of Communications Financial Leasing for use by the MSC, as part of a $600 million four-ship deal in 2020, according to the renewables website, Offshore Energy.
With an official length of 399.9 metres and width of 61.5 metres, the MSC Tessa is now the only cargo vessel capable of carrying 240 000 tons of goods.
Its deck area – about the size of four football fields laid alongside one another – will accommodate more than 24 000 standard shipping containers stacked in columns between 16 and 25 containers high.
The previous record holder, the supertanker Seawise Giant, that measured 458.45 metres by 68.6 metres, was retired in 2009 after a storied history.
The ultra-large crude carrier (ULCC) was built by Japan-based Sumitomo Heavy Industries in 1979.
It was so big it was rendered incapable of operating in many of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, including the English Channel and the Panama and Suez canals.
While anchored off the island of Larak, the Seawise Giant was struck by Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi air force during the Iran-Iraq war.
She was carrying several thousand barrels of Iranian crude oil and, rather unsurprisingly, went up in a ball of fire, eventually sinking to the bottom of the Persian Gulf.
The mega ship was miraculously recovered and repaired to working order, re-entering service from 1991-2009.
The MSC Tessa is diesel-powered but has several innovative features that dramatically reduce the vessel’s environmental impact.
One of its main contributions in this area is an “air lubrication” system that creates millions of aerated bubbles ahead of the ship.
The highly oxygenated water creates less drag for the cargo carrier, improving her fuel economy and reducing emissions by 3-4%, according to Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding.
She also has a set of energy-saving ducts above her beefy large-diameter propellers.
The MSC Tessa will remain the world’s largest ship until the MSC Irina and the MSC Loreto leave the shipyard.
Sisters to the Tessa, both container vessels were also ordered by the Chinese Bank of Communications Financial Leasing and are expected to match or surpass Tessa’s capacity by a few hundred containers.
According to Interesting Engineering, we may not see another rival to these ships for some time as many docks do not have suitable infrastructure to support larger vessels.