Supertankers and aircraft carriers are what people think of when they consider the largest ships on the oceans, though the relatively tiny Titanic is usually the first thing to come to mind. Petrochemical company Shell has everything else in the ocean beat however with the Prelude, an ocean-going vessel whose hull was recently floated in South Korea.
Scheduled to go into action off the coast of Australia in 2017, the Prelude weighs in at over 600,000 tonnes – not a bad weight for a vessel that is longer than New York’s Empire State Building. The Prelude is due to assist in natural gas production off Australia, where is will spend six months of the year in the middle of a cyclone hot-zone – something the craft has been designed to withstand.
Strictly speaking though, the Prelude isn’t a ship. The floating facility needs to be towed into place since it lacks its own power plants. And, if Shell get their way, it won’t be the largest floating facility for too long. The company reportedly already has something bigger in the works.