Weigh­ing more than 564,000 tonnes and mea­sur­ing 458m in length, the Ja­panese-built su­per­tanker Sea­wise Gi­ant was – and still holds the record as – the largest ship ever built.

Boating NZ - - Boat World -

The Sea­wise Gi­ant seemed des­tined for an un­happy life from the mo­ment she was launched in 1979 by Su­mit­omo Heavy In­dus­tries. The Greek com­pany that or­dered her re­neged on the deal, and that set the tone. She en­dured nu­mer­ous own­er­ship and name changes over her 30 years’ ser­vice.

But the ul­ti­mate in­dig­nity came when she was sunk by Sad­dam Hus­sain’s mis­siles dur­ing the Iran-iraq war of 1988. She was de­clared a write-off but for­tu­nately sank in shal­low water, al­low­ing sal­vagers to re-float her. Re­fur­bished, she con­tin­ued trans­port­ing oil for 21 more years be­tween the Mid­dle East and the USA.

Twice the size of the Ti­tanic, the Sea­wise Gi­ant was so vast she couldn’t nav­i­gate the English Chan­nel and took five miles to slow to a halt from her full speed of 16.5 knots. She was also too long and wide to nav­i­gate the Suez and Panama Canals. Her rud­der alone weighed 230 tonnes – and her pro­pel­ler 50 tonnes. Fully-loaded she tipped the scales at 657,000 tonnes.

Her demise came in 2010, when she ended up on an In­dian beach and was ig­no­min­iously cut up for scrap. The only bit that sur­vives is her 36-tonne an­chor. It rests at the Hong Kong Mar­itime Mu­seum – a re­minder of a true le­viathan.

TOP & ABOVE The Sea­wise Gi­ant be­ing dis­sected on an In­dian beach. Sad­dam Hus­sain’s mis­siles sank her, but she was res­ur­rected.

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