Samsung floats world’s largest vessel

SEOUL - South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries has floated a tanker-shaped vessel tagged as the world's largest "floating facility" with a length greater than the height of the Empire State Building in New York.

A Samsung spokeswoman said Thursday that the 488 metres (1,601 feet) long floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform - named "Prelude" - was set in the water at its southern shipyard in Geoje on November 30.

The vessel cannot be described as a "ship" as it is unable to move under its own steam and must be towed.

But it's specifications are impressive.

Once complete, the facility will weigh more than 600,000 tonnes fully loaded, displacing the same amount of water as six of the world's largest aircraft carriers.

74 metres wide and 110 metres high, it is expected to produce 3.6 million tonnes of LNG a year and its storage tanks have a capacity equivalent to approximately 175 Olympic swimming pools.

Commissioned by the Dutch energy giant Shell, the facility is due to be delivered by September 2016.

In a press release on its website, Shell said Prelude would operate in a remote basin around 475 kilometres (295 miles) northeast of Broome, a town in Western Australia, for around 25 years.

It is an all-weather facility designed to withstand the most powerful category five cyclone.