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NAME

SOVEREIGN MAERSK

CLASS

CONTAINER SHIP

ENT/SERVICE

1997

BUILT

ODENSE STEEL SHIPYARD / DENMARK

WEIGHT

91,560 TONS

LENGTH

1,138 FEET

WIDTH

136 FEET

SPEED

25 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

1

ENGINES

1 - 12 CYLINDER MAN BW DIESEL - 75,000 HP


Registered to carry 6,660 standard containers, the ships in this class are the largest containerships built in the 20th Century. With the three ships built being named Sovereign Maersk, Sally Maersk and Susan Maersk, they are referred to as the S Class. There were 15 ships in this class built all together. There are plans to build larger containerships in the 21st Century, although with many ports barely deep enough to take this size of ship and the giant cranes at their limits, ports would have to spend massive amounts of money dredging and replacing their cranes in order to accommodate them. Sovereign Maersk’s maiden voyage called at the port of Singapore October 11th 1997 and loaded/unloaded 2,100 containers in a turnaround time of about 13 hours. This port holds the record of handling 229 containers per hour.

Sovereign Maersk

Captain Peter Maersk Moller founded the Maersk shipping company in 1904 by operating a single steamship between Denmark and the Far East under the name Ssvendborg. This line evolved into what is now an internationally known standard bearer of Danish history. Maersk’s involvement in shipbuilding began when they founded the Odense Steel Shipyard Company in 1917. This yard situated near the Odense Canal has the capacity to build ships up to 40,000 dead weight tons. After ships began exceeding 40,000 DWT in 1957, Maersk built a new yard at Lindo capable of constructing 200,000 DWT ships. The emergence of the first super tanker in 1966 at 210,000 DWT forced them to build an even larger dry dock with the capacity to build ships up to 650,000 DWT. Following the Exxon Valdez tanker spillage in 1989 and the Federal Oil Polution Act that followed in 1990, this yard completed the first 300,000 DWT double-hulled ultra large tanker in 1993.

Sovereign Maersk

In the late 1990s, Maersk took over the United States largest shipping company Sealand. This company entered the containership business in 1956. They began by operating a T2 oil tanker named Ideal X that carried petroleum below decks and 58 of the newly designed standard containers on a specially built deck above the oil pipes and valves on the original deck. Sealand’s first fully containerized ship Gateway City entered service in 1957 capable of carrying 226 containers at a speed of 15 knots. The Sealand ship Elizabethport was the first containership to transit the Panama Canal, this being on her inaugural voyage between the ports of Elizabeth and Long Beach. The Elizabethport class ships were also the first to be lengthened by adding a new mid section to the existing stern and bow. With that work complete, they were capable of carrying 476 containers. Their first D-9 class ship Sea-Land Patriot also broke new ground when it became the first diesel-powered containership to fly the American flag in 1979. After the takeover of Sealand, Maersk/Sealand became the largest container shipping company in the world with a total of 550,000 containers and 250 ships.

Update: Emma Maersk entered service in 2006 capable of carrying over 11,000 standard containers. This ship is 1,302 feet long, 184 feet wide and 110,000 gross registered tons. There are now 7 sister ships.

By 2013, the Maersk Triple-E ships will start to enter service capable of carrying 18,000 standard containers. These ships will be 1,300 feet long and 194 feet wide. Ten ships in this class are on order so far.

Largest container ship list.

Emma Maersk
Emma Maersk Large Image.


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