Supergiant Oil Tankers

Some of the biggest vessels that you will see at sea today are the truly gigantic oil tankers that move crude and refined petroleum around the world.

They are usually split into two categories, crude tankers and product tankers. The former transport crude oil to refineries for processing, while the latter transport the refined product to storage facilities around the world.

Crude tankers are normally much bigger than product tankers. There are also other types of tankers that can refuel ships in the middle of the ocean – a process known as bunkering. In the past, oil tankers were single hulled vessels, but a series of disasters that had terrible effects on the environment and wildlife saw the introduction of new legislation which stipulates that tankers must have a double hull to help protect against any breaches.

Two of the largest ship registries in the world that accommodate super tankers are those of Panama and Malta. In the past, tankers used to be designed to pass through the Suez Canal, but when this was seized and nationalised by the Egyptian Government in 1956, tankers had to go the long way around the horn of Africa. It became a turning point as shipping companies realised that the real money did not lie in getting the product there quickly, but rather, getting a lot more of it there, even if the journey was longer. In other words, the bigger the ship, the more cost efficient the journey became and therefore more profits rolled in.

The two largest tankers in action today at the TI Europe and the TI Oceania. Both are 1,246 feet long and can carry an incredible 3.1 million barrels of oil at an average speed of 16.5 knots. Aside from pipelines, tankers are the most efficient way to transport petroleum products.

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