The World’s Largest Ship Inches Closer to Completion

At a dry dock in South Korea, the world’s largest ship finally floats.

LNG, gas, oil, ship, shell, construction, australia, energyAt the dry docks in Geoje, South Korea, the world’s largest ship has been floated for the first time.

Measuring in at 488 m (1,601 ft) long and 74 m (243 ft) wide, Shell’s Prelude FLNG has a hull that is longer than the Empire State Building is tall. With a carrying capacity of 430 million liters (114 million gallons) the Prelude will weigh some 661,400 tons when filled to capacity.

According to Shell, the Prelude will be capable of producing some 3.9M tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) each year. What’s even more impressive, though, is that the craft will be doing all of this work at sea.

Built to operate in a remote stretch of water 475 km (295 miles) northeast of Broome, Australia, the Prelude will be continuously moored to the seafloor and operate regardless of weather conditions, including category 5 cyclones.

In the event of such massive storms, the ship’s mooring will allow the vessel to rotate so the narrow section of the hull flows with the wind.  To push the leviathan through its evasive maneuvers, however, the Prelude will be equipped with two 6,700 HP thrusters.

As part of its mission, the Prelude will also be a way station for LNG tankers travelling the high seas. Once LNG is processed through the Prelude’s facilities it will dispense fuel to tankers destined for ports around the globe.

Although the Prelude has officially been floated, a ton of construction still needs to occur before the seaborne LNG facility can come online. Shell predicts that the Prelude will first set sail sometime in 2017 and will remain at its isolated confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Timor Sea for upwards of 25 years.

Images Courtesy of Shell