World’s biggest container ship MSC Oscar en route for Port of Felixstowe today

The MSC Oscar en route in the North Sea to its next port of call.

The MSC Oscar en route in the North Sea to its next port of call. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of ship-spotters are expected to line the shore as the Port of Felixstowe welcomes the world’s largest container ship today– just two months after the last holder of the title sailed into the harbour.

MSC Oscar berthed at Algeciras.

MSC Oscar berthed at Algeciras. - Credit: Archant

There was chaos on the Landguard peninsula and traffic jams on the seafront as people tried to get a grandstand view of the CSCL Globe when it arrived at Britain’s biggest boxport in January.

At that moment, the CSCL Globe was the largest container ship afloat, but now it has been superseded by an even larger new vessel hailed as the world’s biggest container carrier, the MSC Oscar.

While the CSCL Globe – which is the size of four football pitches – carries 19,100 standard-sized boxes, the MSC Oscar can hold 19,244 containers.

The MSC Oscar, owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, which has its UK headquarters at The Havens, Ipswich, was launched on January 8 and is named after the son of MSC president and chief executive Diego Aponte.

Mr Aponte said: “The Oscar will operate on our new-look Albatross service between Asia and Europe.

“The new fuel-efficiency engine will go one step further towards delivering a healthier supply chain for our customers.”

The ship – which is currently due to arrive at Berths 8&9 on Felixstowe’s newest extension between 1pm and 2pm on Monday – is being welcomed by MSC and port officials with a special reception.

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It will make a spectacular sight at 395.4 metres long and 59m wide, with a draught of 16 metres. It was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering at a shipyard near Busan, South Korea, and is the first in a series of similar vessels

It originally sailed from Asia before proceeding around Europe, having called at Algeciras, Spain, then Rotterdam before leaving for Bremen and Wilhelmshaven, Germany. It returned again to Rotterdam this weekend before setting out to Felixstowe.

However, while the vessel – and its sister ships – are likely to remain the world’s largest for a little while yet, they are expected to be supplanted by the first orders for vessels able to carry 20,000 boxes, with contracts for ships of that size expected to be confirmed soon.

It was only eight years ago that the Emma Maersk caused such excitement when it visited Felixstowe as the largest ship afloat carrying 11,000 boxes.

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