Despite being surrounded by amazing innovations every day, most of us are still impressed by the latest Apple update or virtual reality headset. After all, they improve our lives and make them more convenient; we can’t help but feel grateful!
Even still, it’s pretty rare that we learn of the existence of something that is so extraordinary, it leaves us with in total awe. This is one of those times.
While a “heavy-lift” ship might not sound all that impressive, it’s actually one of humanity’s most daring displays of engineering. So much so, in fact, that it hardly even looks real…
Meet the heavy-lift ship, an impressive vessel designed to move very large loads that cannot be handled by normal ships. It almost looks like it’s Photoshopped—or even as if it’s sinking—but it’s neither of those things!
For example, this is the MV Blue Marlin, a heavy-lift, semi-submersible vessel capable of lifting another ship out of the water and transporting it. It works by flooding the deck and positioning itself underneath the object it needs to carry.
Just look what it can do with a ship like the USS Cole. Just for reference, the Cole is 505 feet long, and it displaces between 6,900 and 9,000 tons of water. Here it is on the deck of the Blue Marlin after it was attacked by Al-Qaeda in 2000 and needed repairs.
When you consider the sheer size of some of these destroyers—which can clearly rest comfortably on its deck—it makes the Blue Marlin seem even more of an impressive feat of engineering. Just look how tiny the people are!
Destroyers like SS Cole aren’t the only heavy loads that MV Blue Marlin can carry on its deck. Believe it or not, it can haul a dozen or so other transport ships! Just look at all of those huge vessels piled up on top of its deck. How it doesn’t sink is a true miracle of science.
If you thought that was impressive, get ready for this: you may have never considered it before, but transporting an oil rig to its place way out into the ocean is tough work. Unless you have the Blue Marlin, that is…
This oil rig might be a little bit smaller, but it’s no less impressive. The Blue Marlin, which itself is 738 feet long, has literally been built for this sort of work, and it’s been made famous by how well it does its job.
Oil rigs and destroyer ships aren’t all the Blue Marlin can carry, either. This is the SBX-1, or Sea-Based X-Band Radar. It’s a floating, self-propelled, mobile active electronically scanned array radar station. It also fits on the Blue Marlin‘s deck—no big deal.
The SBX-1 is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System, and it’s designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. Oh, and it’s huge! It even looks like it has the Spaceship Earth ride from Disney World’s Epcot theme park on top of it.
The list of larger-than-life structures the Blue Marlin can carry just goes on and on. These, for instance, are drilling rigs with a gridwork of iron below them, creating a giant “foot” to stabilize the weight. They jack up out of the water with those large legs.
And here’s three of them all lined up on the back of the Blue Marlin. There really isn’t much of anything that cannot be carried by this beast of a ship! Sometimes, human ingenuity is pretty impressive, huh?