World’s Strangest

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The World’s Largest Ship Propellers

Link – article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

“Huge ship propellers, churning out their wakes with magnificent forcefulness…”

Contrary to the saying “Love Is the Only Propeller” big ships need huge manufactured propellers, designed to move titanic loads with maximum possible speeds.

In the past, we’ve featured several different aspects of ocean-going vessels here at Dark Roasted Blend, including our recent articles on figureheads and ship’s sterns. This time, we’re taking a look at propellers, from a variety of ships, all of different types, but all considerable in size:

(bottom left: 85 tonne propeller by Stone Marine Propulsion Ltd; top & right: propellers by MMG)

An interesting fact: when Rev. Edward Lyon Berthon invented the screw propeller in 1834/35, it was dismissed by the Admiralty as “a pretty toy which never would, and never could, propel a ship”.

The World’s Largest Ship’s Propellers

One of the world’s largest ship’s propellers has been manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industries for a 7,200 TEU container vessel owned by Hapag Lloyd. As tall as a three storey building, the 9.1 metre diameter, six bladed propeller weighs in at 101.5 tons. The following photo is a 72 ton propeller fitted to the tanker Loannis Coloctronis:

(image credit: Arco Publishing Co. New York)

The largest (to date) propeller is built by the German company Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH:

“Weighing in at 131 tons, the – to date – largest ship propeller made in Waren on the Müritz River drives the Emma Maersk, the world’s largest container ship, with a load capacity of up to 14,770 twenty-foot containers, a length of 397 m, a width exceeding 56 m and a height of 68 m… Together, engine and propeller allow the oceangoing giant to cruise at speeds of 27 knots (50 km/h).” (more info)

(images via)

These are the massive propellers and rudders of the Antarctic icebreaker Palmer, a research vessel working in one of the most hostile environments on Earth:

(the RVIB Palmer’s propellers and rudders are protected from backing into ice by an ice knife above. Photo by Mike Watson, via)

Here see the propellers being installed on Holland America Line’s Eurodam cruise ship:

(images via 1, 2, also showing Azura’s cruise ship propellers via)

(installing propellers for Nieuw Amsterdam ship, via)

These titanic propellers actually belonged to the Titanic, one of the most famous ships in history. It had three solid bronze propellers, each driven by a separate engine. The two outer propellers weighed 38 tons and the central one 17 tons:

(image via)

The Titanic was one of the finest ships of its era, but Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is five times larger than the Titanic and is currently the largest passenger vessel ever built. Consequently, the luxurious ship required some pretty big propellers to help on the journey from the shipyard in Finland to the Oasis of the Seas’ new home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

(image credit: Alpmac, via)

Elation, from Carnival Cruise Lines, was also built in Finland and is currently based in San Diego, California. The ship’s propellers once again dwarf some of the people responsible for their construction and installation:

(images via 1, Matt Coffman)

Here’s a propeller being worked on in dry dock in San Francisco:

(image credit: Dave Yuhas)

This brass propeller belongs to another cruise liner, the Norwegian Epic:

(images via)

Another example of the sheer size of the propellers needed to drive these huge cruise ships, such as the Celebrity Solstice:

(image via)

These are the propellers of the Queen Elizabeth 2, commonly known as the QE2. Operated by the Cunard line, the vessel was launched in 1969 and retired from service in 2008:

(image via)

The Queen Mary 2 succeeded the QE2 as Cunard’s flagship vessel in 2004. These are some of the QM2’s spare propellers, located on the ship’s forward deck:

(image via)

This is the propeller of another famous ship from history. The German battleship Bismark was launched in February 1939, just prior to the outbreak of World War Two, before being sunk by the British in May 1941 (left image). The shipyard scene on the right shows a propeller for an oil tanker under construction in 1947:

(images via 1, 2)

Much smaller perhaps, but still interesting. This is the propeller from the type of Japanese mini-submarine that went searching for earlier models of American aircraft carriers during the raid on Pearl Harbor in December 1941:

(images via)

USS Fiske’s starboard propeller at the Boston Naval Shipyard, 1946:

(photo by US Navy via)

Technology may have improved, but large ships have always needed large propellers. This is from the SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the world’s largest vessel when it was launched in 1843. The ship crossed the Atlantic in 1845 in only 14 days, a record at the time.

(the ship’s original six-bladed propeller, image via)

Shipyard workers examine one of the four brass propellers belonging to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Each one of the propellers weighs around 66, 000 lbs and measures 22 feet across:

(images via U.S. Navy)

Designed for a ship under construction in South Korea, this monstrous looking propeller is over 30 feet across and weighs 107 tons (left). On the right is Crystal Symphony’s propeller in drydock at Lisnave, Portugal:

(images via 1, 2)

One of the giant propellers from the Soviet-era container ships:

Ready for the heavy-duty water action! -

(close up view of the shaft driver propeller of the US Navy destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, via)



Avi Abrams is the creator, writer, and owner of Dark Roasted Blend;
Simon Rose is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children, including The Alchemist’s Portrait, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, The Heretic’s Tomb and The Doomsday Mask.

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November 30th, 2011

Stranger to the World



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