MSC Cristina, listed among the world’s largest cargo ships with 13,259 TEU (although on some lists it appears with merely 13,102 TEU) has dropped anchor in Haifa harbor Friday morning, becoming the largest ship to enter Haifa andd any other harbor in Israel.
And just so you’ll have a better grasp of this bit of news, TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent unit, it is an inexact unit of cargo capacity used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals. It is based on the volume of a 20-foot-long intermodal container, a standard-sized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks.
In other words, MSC Christina on Friday morning entered Haifa harbor loaded with 13,259 (or 13,102) of those big metal boxes where Hollywood villains like to tie up and torture their victims, or Asian stowaways are discovered, huddled without food or water – you get the idea.
Now, even though MSC Christina is truly enormous, it is way down on the list of ocean crossing behemoths, the largest of which, the Madrid Maersk, built this year, 20,568 of those GMCs (Gigantic Metal Containers). The MOL Triumph, also built this year, can deliver for you as many as 20,170 TRHTs (Those Really Huge Things). And MSC Oscar, built in 2015, schleps on the high water 19,224 BBBs (Boxes, Boxes, Boxes).
Still, Christina, built back in 2011, when primitive seafarers believed the most you could carry on a cargo ship were 13,000 or so TEU, comes in impressive dimensions: it is 1,201 ft. long, with a 157 ft. beam (that’s its width at the widest point as measured at the ship’s nominal waterline – but you knew that already).
Of course, the Madrid Maersk 1,309 ft. long and 192 ft at the beam.
But wait, before y’all start gasping in amazement at man’s ability to sail huge things on water, let us remind you that the oil supertanker Seawise Giant, which was in service until 2009, was 1,504.1 ft long, with a beam of 225.72 ft. The biggest ship ever built, the Seawise Giant was too big to navigate the English Channel, the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. Frankly, it looked a lot like the result of a bet. It was sunk during the Iran–Iraq War, salvaged and restored to service as a floating storage and offloading unit moored off the coast of Qatar in the Persian Gulf at the Al Shaheen Oil Field. It was sold to Indian ship breakers, and renamed Mont for its final journey in December 2009. After clearing Indian customs it sailed to Alang, Gujarat where it was beached for scrapping.
It will never visit Haifa harbor.