Tankers for the transport of fluids, such as crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas and chemicals, also vegetable oils, wine and other food - the tanker sector comprises one third of the world tonnage. Tankers can range in size from several hundred tons, designed for servicing small harbours and coastal settlements, to several hundred thousand tons, with these being designed for long-range haulage. A wide range of products are carried by tankers, including: * hydrocarbon products such as oil, LPG, and LNG
* Chemicals, such as ammonia, chlorine, and styrene monomer * fresh water
Different products require different handling and transport, thus special types of tankers have been built, such as "chemical tankers" and "oil tankers". Gas Carriers such as ""LNG carriers" as they are typically known, are a relatively rare tanker designed to carry liquefied natural gas. Among oil tankers, supertankers were designed for carrying oil around the Horn of Africa from the Middle East; the FSO Knock Nevis being the largest vessel in the world, a ULCC supertanker formerly known as Jahre Viking (Seawise Giant). It has a deadweight of 565 thousand metric tons and length of about 500 meters. The use of such large ships is in fact very unprofitable, due to the inability to operate them at full cargo capacity; hence, the production of supertankers has currently ceased. Today's largest oil tankers in comparison by gross tonnage are TI Europe, TI Asia, TI Oceania, which are the largest sailing vessels today. But even with their deadweight of 441,585 metric tons, sailing as VLCC most of the time, they do not use more than 70% of their total capacity. Apart from pipeline transport, supertankers are the only method for transporting large quantities of oil, although such tankers have caused large environmental disasters when sinking close to coastal regions, causing oil spills. See Exxon Valdez, Braer, Prestige, Torrey Canyon, Erika, for examples of tankers that have caused oil spills.
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries. Product tankers, generally much smaller, are designed to move petrochemicals from refineries to points near consuming markets.
Oil tankers are often classified by their size as well as their occupation. The size classes range from inland or coastal tankers of a few thousand metric tons of deadweight (DWT) to the mammoth ultra large crude carriers (ULCCs) of 550,000 DWT. Tankers move approximately 2,000,000,000 metric tons (2.2×109 short tons) of oil every year. Second only to pipelines in terms of efficiency, the average cost of oil transport by tanker amounts to only two or three United States cents per 1 US gallon (3.8 L).
Some specialized types of oil tankers have evolved. One of these is the naval replenishment oiler, a tanker which can fuel a moving vessel. Combination ore-bulk-oil carriers and permanently moored floating storage units are two other variations on the standard oil tanker design. Oil tankers have been involved in a number of damaging and high-profile oil spills. As a result, they are subject to stringent design and operational regulations. The technology of oil transportation has evolved alongside the oil industry. Although anthropogenic use of oil reaches to prehistory, the first modern commercial exploitation dates back to James Young's manufacture of paraffin in 1850. In these early days, oil from Upper Burma was moved in earthenware vessels to the river bank where it was then poured into boat holds.
In the 1850s, the Pennsylvania oil fields became a major supplier of oil, and a center of innovation after...