MSC Gülsün world's largest container ship arrived at Rotterdam

World’s largest container ship the MSC Gülsün arrived today in the Rotterdam harbour and will remain there until Thursday afternoon. Some data are:

Capacity 23756 containers, 24 containers across beam.
Length 400 m
Width 62 m
Depth 33.2 m
Draft >16 m
GT 232618
Deadweight 228149 ton
Speed Varies; capable of 21 knots
Type Megamax-24

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The size of those ships boggles the mind. In 2006 I was over in Korea working on a project to build 5, 2800 TEU Containerships. Those things are but Feeder ships in today’s world in comparison.

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She left from Tg. Pelapas 27.July:

And arrived in Gdansk, Poland 23. Aug.:

A bit surprised of the 13 kt. speed, but slow steaming is now becoming the policy of both MSC, Maersk and others to improve their carbon emission. Large ships + slower speed = less emission per container.

From here:

There are 5 DGs. All MAN L32/40s, 2x6 cyl, and 3x9 cyl. The two smaller ones have exhaust gas boilers, the others do not. No shaft generator, no steam turbine.

Why would a ship of this size not employ a shaft generator? (Preferably a shaft motor/generator with use of a steam turbine generator?). Seems crazy especially running at these slow speeds (ie, longer transits) to be running up hours on multiple generators when you could be using the very efficient main engine to produce your power. Any thoughts?

My first thought when seeing a box ship this large is how many reefers does it carry, is crew manually checking reefers daily and how many electricians are on board? It sounds like any Chief Mates nightmare…

The ships I was involved building had remote monitoring systems that could record reefer temps in the cargo office.

Not only to the cargo office. Maersk and other major container shipping lines lets their customers monitor the location, temperature and CO2 level of the containers their cargo is in from the comfort of their office, or anywhere with internet connection:

The first thing I thought about was pity the poor reefer electrician(s) on that thing.
I remember the problems we had with the earlier versions of remote reefer monitoring systems. They transmitted data over the power cable and worked well for the most part but with a large numbers of reefers, transformers, power factor capacitors and countless connections it could be an electrical nightmare in the North Pacific and Bering Sea weather and a reefer nightmare when in the tropics and all the marginal boxes starting heating up.

I wonder what the crew compliment is, still 20-25?

The K-Class I was on is a toy compared to that with a capacity of around 5,200 TEU… and to me that thing was colossal.

I also looked for the number of crew members but could not find it so far. In this link here there is more information, for instance the fuel and CO2 efficiency. The ship has 2000 refrigerated containers on board.

The vessel is also fitted with SHI’s Svessel data system, which analyses navigation data to provide voyage optimisation support. The system was also designed to provide equipment condition monitoring and fault diagnosis.

Nothing found about crew size on this particular vessel, but here is a quote from an informative website:

No reason to believe that a few thousand more TEUs would make much difference to the crew size.

PS> Management philosophy MAY differ between OOCL and MSC though.

Good fucking lord! Unless there are 5 reefer technicians onboard, there are going to be quite a few cargo claims when those reefers inevitably have mechanical failures. 2000 reefers is too much! Sure they make the company money but they require constant attention. How can you do that with this many onboard?

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“I’m gonna go check on those reefers we loaded… I’ll see you next week.”

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This is from the MSC website, the link of which was mentioned in my post #9:

The vessel is equipped with more than 2,000 refrigerated containers, boosting the trade of food, drink, pharmaceutical and other chilled and frozen items between Asia and Europe.

It even says ‘more than 2000 refrigerated containers’!

An article in Hellenic Shipping News today re: NSC Gulsun:
A little short on explaining what the “cargo system” entail, or on the reefer arrangement.

I read it as “lashing system” and for my money, MSC’s track record with managing the proper use of one (including load parameters/stability) amounts to a hill of beans.

But hey, build the biggest ship ever and let’s see what happens.


Still learning. New expression added to my vocabulary. Thanks!

Why not? What’s a 3rd world villager going to do if it all goes to hell? A few thousand pesos and the problem goes away. The race to the bottom continues.

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I don’t know where you get your information from, but the Master of the MSC Gulsun appear to be from Italy, or at least his name (Capt. Lauro Somma) and his appearance indicate so.
Seen here when his ship transited the Suez Canal for the first time:
He is the one in the blue coverall.

I presume it is hard to accept that most of the world’s shipping fleet can manage to even exist, let alone have a good safety record, without a single American on board.

One more picture, this time from first call at a European port (Algerias, Spain):

(He obviously don’t favour flash uniforms like some Italian captains)

I recall Suez pilots saying they hate taking an assignment to these large vessels as they handle like pigs, making their lives miserable and a North Sea pilot with MLL experience in his shipping days saying even in any slight seas they experience way more flex and containers tend to get lost overboard easier. Those two stories are all I think about when I get blasted with photos or stories of these monsters being built, whether or not they’re entirely true… just gets me to wondering.