The Knock Nevis, formerly known as the Seawise Giant, was scrapped primarily because it had become too expensive to operate and maintain. The ship had a long and storied history, and had survived several serious accidents and incidents during its time in service.
The Seawise Giant was originally built in 1979 as a single-hulled supertanker, and at the time was the largest ship in the world. However, in 1988, the ship was involved in a serious accident in the Hormuz Strait, where it collided with a mine laid by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War. The ship was heavily damaged and sank, but was later salvaged and rebuilt by a Hong Kong-based company.
The rebuilt ship, now renamed the Happy Giant, was lengthened and converted into a floating storage and offloading unit for oil rigs. In 2004, the ship was purchased by a Norwegian company and renamed the Knock Nevis. It was converted back into a crude oil tanker and put back into service.
However, by this time, the ship was over 25 years old and was facing increasing maintenance and operational costs. The global economic downturn in the late 2000s, which led to a drop in demand for oil transportation and a decrease in steel prices, made it financially attractive for the ship to be scrapped for its steel value.
The decision to scrap the Knock Nevis was primarily driven by economic and practical considerations, rather than any specific incident or accident. While the ship had a long and eventful history, it had become too expensive and difficult to maintain and operate, and its useful life had come to an end.
Real Reasons Knock Nevis was Scrapped – Seawise Giant
1. It was becoming too Expensive to Operate & maintain for the owners
The Knock Nevis was scrapped primarily because it had become too expensive to operate and maintain. The ship was designed to carry crude oil, which was a lucrative business in the 1970s and 1980s when the ship was built and modified.
However, as the oil industry changed and demand for oil transportation shifted to smaller, more efficient ships, the Knock Nevis became less economically viable.
2. Knock Nevis was too old and ageing fast
In 2010, the Knock Nevis was 31 years old. The ship was originally built in 1979 as the Seawise Giant, and was later renamed several times before finally being named the Knock Nevis in 2004.
In addition, the ship had reached the end of its useful life and was in need of major repairs and upgrades. However, due to its massive size and complexity, these repairs and upgrades were not feasible or cost-effective.
The ship had also been out of service for several years before it was finally scrapped, which had led to significant deterioration and corrosion.
3. Due to Double hull requirements as per IMO
The Knock Nevis was not originally designed as a double-hulled ship. It was built as a single-hulled supertanker in 1979, before the regulations requiring double hulls were introduced.
However, in the wake of several high-profile oil spills in the 1990s, including the Exxon Valdez spill, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced regulations requiring new oil tankers and bulk carriers of a certain size and age to have a double hull. Despite being a single-hulled ship, the Knock Nevis was allowed to continue operating because it was considered a grandfathered vessel.
It’s worth noting that the Knock Nevis had a number of safety features that were designed to reduce the risk of oil spills.
For example, it was fitted with an advanced navigation system, a double bottom, and a number of watertight compartments, which would help to prevent oil from leaking out in the event of an accident.
Nevertheless, the Knock Nevis was retired from service in 2010 primarily due to economic reasons, as I mentioned earlier, and not because of any failure to comply with double hull regulations.
Also read 10 Facts about Knock Nevis – Seawise Giant, the Biggest Supertanker ever made
What is Double hull Requirements
Double hull requirements refer to regulations that require certain types of ships to have a double hull, which provides an additional layer of protection against oil spills and other environmental hazards. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency that sets global standards for shipping, introduced these requirements in the wake of several high-profile oil spills in the 1980s and 1990s, including the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.
Under these regulations, new oil tankers and bulk carriers of a certain size and age are required to have a double hull. Specifically, oil tankers over 20,000 deadweight tons (DWT) and bulk carriers over 150 meters in length must have a double hull.
A double hull consists of two layers of steel or other material separated by a gap or void space. This design provides an additional layer of protection against oil spills by reducing the risk of the ship’s outer hull being breached in the event of a collision or grounding. In the case of an oil spill, the space between the two hulls can be filled with water, which helps to contain the spilled oil.
4. Global economic downturn in the late 2000s
Finally, the global economic downturn in the late 2000s, which led to a decrease in demand for oil transportation and a drop in steel prices, made it financially attractive for the ship to be scrapped for its steel value. The ship was sold to an Indian shipbreaking company, which dismantled it over a period of several years.
Overall, the decision to scrap the Knock Nevis was primarily driven by economic and practical considerations. While the ship had been a marvel of engineering and had held several world records, it had become too expensive and difficult to maintain and operate, and its useful life had come to an end.