Maersk Containership
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The Maersk Enfield: Ultra Large Containership

Yaniv Schwartz

One of the major innovations in global trade has been the development of massive containerships capable of carrying billions of dollars of cargo around the world in a single voyage.  The newest Ultra Large Container Vessels are capable of handling over 19k 20 foot container equivalent  units (known as "TEU's" in the shipping trade).  Contributor Yaniv Schwartz flew his drone over one of these gigantic vessels in 2017, resulting in this amazing video. 

LPG Carrier
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LPG Ship


Contributor Atamer.Medya used a drone to create this aerial view of a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) ship sailing in the Ukraine.  LPG is a compressed form of natural gas which allows it to be transported long distances by ship rather than pipeline.  Purpose-built LPG ships like this one can carry over one hundred million cubic meters (several billion cubic ft.) of natural gas.  LPG facilities and transportation permit the development of natural gas resources which would otherwise be stranded.

Ice-Breaking Cargo Ship
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Drone on IceBreaker


The title says it all.  Top drone pilot and aerial videographer David Etienne Durivage (profile name "Dizifilms") created this spectacular aerial video of a cargo carrying ship operating in the Canadian Arctic.  The video shows the containership plowing through the thick ice of the foreboding Arctic Ocean, and the bird's eye perspective of this scene is incredible.  A ship like this is capable of breaking through modest ice coverings; much thicker ice would require a dedicated icebreaker to clear a path.  

Car Carrier
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Car Carrier Metis Leader


Not as large or glamourous as their containership cousings, car carrier ships nonetheless play a critical role in the global auto trade.  Car carrier ships are expressly designed to carry thousands of passenger vehicles on journeys around the globe.  In this video, contributor Ryan Smith uses a drone to give us an aerial tour of the car carrier Metis Leader as it carries 8,500 vehicles through the Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts (USA).

Shipping Chemicals through the Bosphorus
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Bulk Carrier in the Bosphorus

OGB - Omer Gokcen

Bulk cargo ships can be easily distinguished from containerships; while the latter will be stacked with thousands of usually colorful shipping containers, the cargo of the former is hidden in the massive cargo holds. Dry bulk cargo comes in many varieties, but by weight most cargo is iron ore, coal, or agricultural foodstuffs. In this video, contributor Omer Gocken used a drone to capture a bulk cargo carrier cruising through the Straits of Bosphorus near the great city of Istanbul, Turkey. 

Barge on a River
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Chasing the Ingram Barge in Nashville TN


DereksAerial created this drone video of a barge plying the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee.  Barges are a unique type of cargo ship: they do not have onboard power.  The flat-bottomed ships are used to transport cargo on rivers or in other shallow waters that prohibit the deeper drafts associated with on-board propulsion.  During the great age of canal-building in the 19th century, before the widespread adoption of rail transport, barges were the critical form of transportation.  

Containership in the Port of Hamburg
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Containership in the Port of Hamburg: Phantom 4 Pro

Elb Cut Media

Contributor Elb Cut Media used a DJI Phantom 4 drone to shoot this epic aerial video of a containership being pulled by tugboat through the Port of Hamburg.  Hamburg is Germany's largest port and one of the keys to its export-driven economy, although it lies not on the seacoast but 110 km (about 70 mi) upstream from the (North Sea) mouth of the Elbe River.  The video provides a great perspective on the process of moving massive ships through crowded ports like this one.  

Oil Tanker
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Big Red: Oil Tanker in the Cape Cod Canal


Among the assets most critical to the global economy are oil tankers.  Since the vast majority of petroleum is consumed far from where it is extracted, the world depends on a fleet of massive ships carrying this liquid cargo from producers to consumers.  These ships are able to transport oil virtually anywhere for just a few dollars per barrel.   Contributor Ryan Smith managed to use his drone to capture the tanker Iver Prosperity cruising through the Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts, USA. 

Cargo Ship Under the Verrazano Bridge
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New York's Verrazano Bridge


The Verrazano Bridge is a relatively recent addition to the transportation infrastructure of New York City.  The double-decked suspension bridge spans the Narrows, a stretch of water passing between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.  When completed in 1964, the bridge's main span of 1.3k meters (just over 4.2k) ft.) was the longest in the world for almost two decades.   In this video, conteibutor Leonard James flew a drone into the Narrows to film a ship passing under the span.  

Containership in Port of Melbourne
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Containership Passing Under Westgate Bridge Near Melbourne


Among the other things which distinguish the Australian city of Melbourne is its seaport.  The city, which lies at mouth of the Yarra River, was actually not blessed with a great natural harbor like Sydney.  In the late 19th century, the river was widened to be able to accommodate larger ships.  Now, the port is the country's busiest containership port.  In this drone video by Steffshots, you'll get a bird's eye view of a giant containership heading out of the great port to sea.

FPV Shots of a Containership
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Afromax Tanker by FPV Drone


Contributor Red-fpv is one of the top FPV pilots in France, and his freestyle exploits are legendary.  In this video, he takes his FPV act out into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  He and one of his friends flew their FPV racing drones over an oil tanker cruising in the international waters near the island of Malta.  Prepare to be blown away by the way he handles this Afromax tanker, a tanker class which runs up to 120,000 tons of gross deadweight.  

Containership in the Port of Miami
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Headed out to Sea - Port of Miami


If you want an idea of how much large containerships have revolutionized the economics of shipping goods, check out this fantastic drone video by Passport_Aerial.  He put together a great top-down shot of a containership easing its way out of the port of Miami, Florida.  Those little "boxes" you see are each 20' and 40' containers.  With the largest ships carrying up to 20k 20 foot equivalents (TEU's), a single ship can transport billions of dollars worth of goods.  

Bulk Carrier in the Pacific NW
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SAITA I - Bulk Carrier


Contributor Uracowley created this drone video of a bulk carrier ship heading down the Columbia River in Oregon, in the USA's Pacific Northwest.  Launched in 2014, the Cyprus-flagged carrier SAITA-1 has a length of just under 230 meters (about 750 ft.) and gross tonnage of 43,000 tons.  Bulk carriers are critical to the transport of all sorts of commodities, ranging from iron ore to timber to coal.  They generally travel considerably slower than containerships due to the (relatively) low value of their cargoes.

Ultralarge Containership
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The 366m Cosco Shipping

Yaniv Schwartz

Contributor Yaniv Schwartz was able to fly his drone over an ultralarge containership plying the waters of the Mediterranean.  The ship, operated by th Chinese state-owned Cosco shipping company, measures an incredible 366 meters or 1.2k ft.   That's about 10% longer than the world's largest aircraft carriers.  In terms of their physical size and cargo value, large containerships are the kings of the seas, although in terms of weight they are outdone by the largest oil tankers and dry bulk ships.  

Aframax Tanker
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Tanker [Aframax LR2]

Nilsen F.

It's not every day you see footage from a racing drone flying around a giant oil tanker.  Contributor Nilsen F. did just that.  He attached a GoPro Session 5 to a Cheetah x-frame FPV drone and found the Phaedra Bright cruising in international Mediterranean waters near Malta.  This ship is an Aframax-class oil tanker.  Aframax-class ships are the next size class from Panamax, meaning they are too large to pass through the Panama Canal.  Needless to say, the FPV views of this vessel are incredible.  


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Slow Boats to China

Max Altitude
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"Maersk Vilnius"

Dirty Bird
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OGB - Omer Gokcen
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OGB - Omer Gokcen
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The Meeting

Yaniv Schwartz
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OGB - Omer Gokcen
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FLIGHT #1004

OGB - Omer Gokcen