The Seawise Giant was a famous ship that only sailed for around 30 years – not that long compared to many other ships in the world.
She wasn’t a cruise ship though – she was a tanker. And yet she became very famous due to her size. Of course, that begs the question – how did she compare to the Titanic? Let’s take a look.
What was the Seawise Giant?
Seawise Giant was a cargo ship that was built from 1974 to 1979. She launched in 1979 and sailed for 12 years under that name, during which time she was sunk during the Iran-Iraq war. Once the war was over, she was salvaged and repaired, and then entered service again as the Happy Giant.
Soon after, the tanker was bought for $39 million and renamed the Jahre Viking, which remained her name until 2004, sailing under the flag of Norway. She was then purchased by First Olsen Tankers, renamed Knock Nevis, and turned into a permanently-moored storage tanker.
Finally, in 2009 she was bought by Amber Development, renamed Mont, and sailed to India where she was scrapped.
The ship was the biggest in the world when she launched, in length at least if not in gross tonnage. She was incapable of navigating the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal and even the English Channel.
It’s no surprise that she’s become as famous as the Titanic, so let’s see how they compare.
Is the Seawise Giant bigger than the Titanic?
The Seawise Giant was significantly bigger than the Titanic. She was almost twice the length of the Titanic, more than twice the width, and in terms of overall volume she was more than 5 times the size of the Titanic in total.
|Seawise Giant||458 metres / 1,504 feet||69 metres / 225 feet||260,941 GT|
|Titanic||269 metres / 882 feet||28 metres / 92 feet||46,329 GT|
It’s really not a close comparison – the Seawise Giant was significantly larger than the Titanic, which in its day was of course a marvel of shipping design. However times have moved on a lot since the Titanic launched, and now it’s ships like the Seawise Giant that are impressive.
Indeed, there are countless cruise ships and tankers that are a similar size to the Titanic these days, and many more that are bigger.
The Seawise Giant was always going to be longer than the Titanic, simply because it is the longest ship to have ever existed. Even since it was sold for scrap in 2010, no longer ship has ever been built.
The Seawise Giant is not the widest ship in the world, and by some distance, and yet she is much wider than many other modern ships. So again, it’s no real surprise that she dwarfs the Titanic.
Gross tonnage is one of the most common measurements used to determine the size of a ship, as it looks at the total internal volume. So it’s taking the length, width and height of the ship into account.
Seawise Giant next to Titanic
If it helps to visualise the difference, here’s a side-by-side look of the Seawise Giant next to the Titanic.
What ship is bigger than Seawise Giant?
No ship has ever been longer than the Seawise Giant, but the Pioneering Spirit is wider and the Prelude FLNG has a higher gross tonnage. Seawise Giant remains the longest ship ever to have been built.
The widest ship in the world is the Pioneering Spirit, which is an off-shore construction vessel. She is a twin-hull ship that has a combined total width of 124 metres or 407 feet. That’s incredible – many small cruise ships are barely 400 feet long.
Seawise Giant is around 5.6 times the size of the Titanic when you look at gross tonnage but it’s not the biggest ship in the world by this measurement. It’s not even in the top 5.
What is the largest ship ever sunk?
The Seawise Giant is considered to be the largest ship in the world to have sunk. She was hit by an Iraqi Air Force attack during the Iraq-Iran war in 1988 and sunk due to the damage sustained. She was salvaged, repaired and refloated.
A lot of people believe that the Titanic was the largest ship ever sunk, but it certainly wasn’t. It was one of the sinking incidents with the highest loss of life, but that was in part to some terrible standards in safety, which were overhauled in the aftermath.
There’s no real competition here – Seawise Giant lives up to her name and makes the Titanic look like a sailboat.
It may be that the Seawise Giant’s length is never beaten – there aren’t any real practical reasons to do so. And so it may remain as one of the biggest ships ever built in history.
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