VLCC or Very Large Crude Carriers and ULCC or Ultra Large Crude Carriers are the largest operating cargo vessels in the world. With a size in excess of 250,000 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT), these giant ships are capable of carrying huge amount of crude oil in a single trip. Known as Supertankers, these vessels are primarily used for long-haul crude transportation from the Persian Gulf to countries in Europe, Asia and North America.
VLCC have a size ranging between 180,000 to 320,000 DWT.
They are capable of passing through the Suez Canal in Egypt, and as a result are used extensively around the North Sea, Mediterranean and West Africa.
VLCC are very large shipping vessels with dimensions of up to 470m (1,540 ft) in length, beam of up to 60m (200 ft) and draught of up to 20m (66 ft). But the standard dimensions of these ships range between 300 to 330 meters in length, 58 meters breath and 31 meters in depth. They are known for their flexibility in using terminals and can operate in ports with some depth limitations.
The cost of a VLCC ranges between $100 million to $120 million depending on its age. Frontline Limited of Bermuda has the largest fleet of VLCC consisting of 44 vessels.
ULCC or Ultra Large Crude Carriers are the largest shipping vessels in the world with a size ranging between 320,000 to 500,000 DWT.
Due to their mammoth size, they need custom built terminals. As a result they serve a limited number of ports with adequate facilities to accommodate them.
They are also primarily used for very long distance crude oil transportation from the Persian Gulf to Europe, Asia and North America. ULCC are the largest shipping vessels being built in the world with standard dimensions of 415 meters length, 63 meters width and 35 meters draught.
Knock Nevis (also called Jahre Viking) is regarded as the longest ULCC supertanker ever built in the world with massive dimensions of 564,763 DWT, 458.45m (1,504.10 ft) length and 68.8m (225.72 ft) in width.
Not in operation now, the ship was sold to Indian ship breakers in 2009 for its disposal.