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Emma Mærsk is a container ship owned by the A.marker P.marker Moller-Maersk Groupmarker. When she was launched, Emma Mærsk was the largest container ship ever built. As of 2009 she and her 7 sister ships are the longest container ships constructed and the longest ships currently in use. Officially, Emma Mærsk is able to carry around according to the Maersk company's method of calculating capacity, which, at her introduction into service, was about 1,400 more containers than any other ship is capable of carrying. The Emma Mærsk was also featured on an entire episode of Mighty Ships.


By normal calculations, Emma Mærsk s cargo capacity is significantly greater than the listed capacity — between and . The difference between the official and estimated numbers is because Maersk calculates the capacity of a container ship by weight (in this case, 14 tons/container) that can be carried on a vessel. For the Emma Mærsk, this is 11,000+ containers. Other companies calculate the capacity of a container ship according to the maximum number of containers that can be put on the ship, independent of the weight of the containers. This number is always greater than the number calculated by the Maersk method.

Comparing the size of ships can be done in various ways. Comparing ships in different trades often comes down to simple dimensions or weight of cargo carried. Ships in the same trade can, usually, be compared more directly. One measure of the 'size' of a vessel is the Gross Tonnage, which is a measure of volume. Here the Emma Maersk, and her sisters, at about 170,000 gross tons, are clearly much bigger than - for example - the MSC Daniela class, which are about 135,000 gross tons; a point to note is that the MSC ships are of a different design, with Bridge well forward, and Engine Room and funnel well aft; this is claimed - by Builder and operator - to be (slightly) more efficient. The Maersk ships are some thirty metres longer, four metres wider, and have a slightly greater full load draft than the MSC vessels.


The ship was built at the Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark. In June 2006, during construction, welding work caused a fire within her superstructure. It spread rapidly through the accommodation section and bridge.

Emma Mærsk was named in a ceremony on 12 August 2006. The ship is named after Emma Mærsk, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller's late wife. The ship set sail on her maiden voyage on 8 September 2006 at 02:00 hours from Aarhusmarker, calling at Gothenburgmarker, Bremerhavenmarker, Rotterdammarker, Algecirasmarker, the Suez Canalmarker, and arrived in Singaporemarker on 1 October 2006 at 20:05 hours.
Emma Mærsk departed Singapore the next day, headed for Yantian in Shenzhenmarker. She sailed on to Kobe, Nagoya, arrived at Yokohama on 10 October 2006, and returned via Shenzhen, Hong Kongmarker, Tanjung Pelepas, the Suez Canalmarker, Felixstowemarker, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Gothenburg and finally to Aarhus, with arrival at that port 11 November 2006 at 16:00 hours.

She appeared in headlines prior to Christmas 2006, when she was dubbed SS Santa because she was bound for the United Kingdom from China loaded with Christmas goods. The return journey after Christmas 2006 saw her return to southern China, loaded with UK waste destined for recycling in China.

Her appearance in the news prompted China's State Environmental Protection Administration to promise to "closely watch the progress of investigation into the dumping of garbage in south China by Britain". It added that no official approval had been given to any company in the area to import waste.

Sailing schedules

Emma Maersk's regular round trip involves Ningbomarker, Xiamenmarker, Hong Kongmarker (westbound), Yantian (westbound), Tanjung Pelepas (westbound), Algecirasmarker (westbound), Rotterdammarker, Bremerhavenmarker, Algeciras (eastbound), Tanjung Pelepas (eastbound), Yantian (eastbound), Hong Kong (eastbound) and Ningbo.

Engine and hull

The Emma Mærsk is powered by a Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RTFLEX96-C engine, currently the world's largest single diesel unit, weighing 2,300 tons and capable of 109,000 horsepower (82 MW). The ship has several features to protect the environment, some of which include exhaust heat recovery and cogeneration. The exhaust gases of the engine are passed through a steam generator which then powers electrical generators to generate electricity. This creates an electrical output equivalent to about 12% of the main engine power output. Some of this steam is also used directly as shipboard heat. Instead of biocides, used by much of the industry to keep barnacles off of the hull, a special silicone-based paint is used. This increases the ship's efficiency by reducing drag while also protecting the ocean from biocides that may leak. The silicone paint covering the part of the hull below the waterline is credited for lowering the water drag enough to save 1200 tons of fuel per year. The ship has a bulbous bow, a standard feature for cargo ships.


The Emma Mærsk and similar ships have been criticised for their burning of bunker fuel, which has a high sulphur content. Sources in the article estimate the fuel sulphur content at 2.5% to 4.5%, which is over 2000 times more than allowed in current automotive fuel.



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