Prelude, the world's largest ship, launches

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News

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Shell's 488-metre floating gas facility leaves dry dock

Shell's 488-metre floating gas facility leaves dry dock

The world's largest ship has hit the water in South Korea.

The 1,601-foot, 600,000-metric-ton vessel, called the Prelude, is a floating liquified-natural-gas facility owned by Shell. According to the Telegraph, the Prelude, which floated out of dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, took a year to build. When it officially launches in 2017, the ship is expected to produce 3.6 million metric tons of liquified natural gas per year by extracting gas from underwater seabeds off the coast of Western Australia, storing it at a frosty -260 degrees Fahrenheit.

But its the sheer size of the Prelude that has people talking.

The 243-foot-wide ship is 150 feet longer than the height of the Empire State Building. It boasts three 6,700-horsepower engines, has storage tanks that have a liquid capacity equal to 175 Olympic-size swimming pools, a 305-foot-high tower and a massive hull that was constructed in halves and joined in August.

According to Shell, it was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

Check out a time-lapse video of the ship's maiden wade-in here.

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