MSC Oscar represents marine engineering on a truly massive scale. It and its sister ships are the largest container ships in the world. Owned and operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company and Panamanian-registered, MSC Oscar was ordered, built and delivered into service within little more than a year.
Ultimately, there’ll be 20 Oscar-sized container ships in use, each one’s deck the same length as four football pitches laid end to end. Not only do these vast vessels offer capacity levels beyond those of any preceding container ship but they’ve also got serious environmental credentials, making them on several levels among the most significant additions to the global freight scene.
MSC Oscar Development
The container ship that would become MSC Oscar was ordered in December 2013. Construction, undertaken by DSME (Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime Engineering), took place throughout most of 2014. After just 11 months’ work, carried out at a cost of $140 million, the ship was ready for sea trials. It became an MSC fleet member on 8 January 2015 during a ceremony held in Busan, South Korea.
MSC Oscar takes its name from MSC CEO/President Diego Aponte’s son. This upholds MSC’s standard ship-naming tradition but is relatively unusual as a male name, most of MSC’s previous ships having been given female names.
Upon its introduction, MSC Oscar was immediately declared the world’s largest container ship. As such, it displaced the CSCL Globe which had been the largest container ship in the world for barely 50 days before that.
MSC Oscar Features
MSC Oscar features a ‘u-shaped’ double hull that boosts overall strength and a bulbous bow that protrudes out in front to increase fuel efficiency. It is a total of 1,297 feet (395.4 metres) long – the Eiffel Tower, by comparison, stands 1,063 feet (324 metres) tall - and 239 feet six inches (73 metres) high.
Power is supplied by a low-consumption MAN B&W 11S90ME-C diesel engine that’s 51 feet (15.5 metres) tall, 82 feet (25 metres) long and 36 feet (11 metres) wide. Electronically-controlled, this engine’s MCR (maximum continuous rating) is 83,300 horsepower (62,500 kilowatts) and its NCR (normal continuous rating) is 75,430 horsepower (56,250 kilowatts). It drives a single five-bladed propeller whose blades are individually 34 feet (10.5 metres) long. Other key MSC Oscar features include an autopilot system and its use of SeaQuantum X200 anti-fouling paint designed to slow down hull deterioration and enhance overall performance.
MSC Oscar Capabilities
In sea freight terms, MSC Oscar’s capacity is 19,224 TEUs. ‘TEU’ refers to a standard 20-foot-long shipping container so, in other words, MSC Oscar can accommodate 19,224 of these. The CSCL Globe’s capacity is 19,100 containers but, to really put these state-of-the-art ships’ capacities in context, rewind to the mid-1980s when 5,000 containers was considered a large quantity.
Initially, MSC Oscar was conceived as an 18,000 TEU-capacity container ship but that changed once an additional tier had been put in place. Up to 11,258 containers can be placed on MSC Oscar’s deck, with the remaining 7,966 containers positioned down in its hold. According to figures published on MSC’s website, the ship’s capacity could allow it to carry 57.7 million clothing items, 9.61 million tyres, 2.4 million microwaves or more than one million washing machines on a single voyage.
On the eco/environmental front, MSC Oscar and the other ships in its range reportedly deliver CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions reductions of 35 per cent per container compared to preceding vessels.
MSC Oscar Operations
MSC Oscar is crewed by a team of up to 35 people. Owing to its sheer size and the careful approaches taken, just tethering it takes approximately 30 minutes. Once on the water, the container ship cruises at 22.8 knots (26 miles per hour – 42 kilometres per hour) but has a maximum speed of 24.8 knots (29 miles per hour – 46 kilometres per hour). Its range is approximately 30,265 miles (48,707 kilometres).
MSC Oscar is currently being put to use on MSC’s Albatross Service that links Asia and Europe. The ports on this route are Dalian (China), Busan (South Korea), Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian (all China), Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia), Algeciras (Spain), Rotterdam (Holland), Bremerhaven (Germany) and Wilhelmshaven (also Germany).
Other ‘Oscar-Class’ Ships
The second ‘Oscar-Class’ container ship joined MSC in March 2015. Named after Aporte’s nephew, Oliver, it’s since gone into service alongside MSC Oscar on the Albatross route. Next to be introduced were MSC Zoe and MSC Maya, which were christened on 2 August 2015 and 26 September 2015, respectively. It’s planned for all 20 of these containers ships to have been delivered by the end of 2017.