Pioneering Spirit, which is designed for lifting and removing large oil and gas platforms and installing pipelines, has been carrying a 40-year-old oil rig to the recycling yard in Teeside. Watch it in operation

At 382-metres (1,253-foot) long and 124-metres (406-foot) wide, Pioneering Spirit is the world’s largest ship.

The monster vessel has been in the North Sea removing and transporting the 40-year-old oil rig – the Brent Delta platform – which was located approximately 186km off the north-east coast of Shetland.

The 24,000-tonne platform has been decommissioned, and Pioneering Spirit was needed to remove it to the recycling yard in Teeside.

A large commercial ship

Pioneering Spirit moving out from the platform

In the process, the ship set a new world lifting record, lifting the structure from its three supporting legs in seconds.

It is the heaviest load of cargo ever lifted in the history of the oil and gas industry.

The Shell UK platform was then transported to the Able UK decommissioning yard, with Pioneering Spirit arriving in Teeside on Monday (1 May).

The world's largest ship move an oil rig

Transporting the platform to Teeside

The Brent Delta platform was then put onto a barge. It will then be pulled into the mouth of the Tees and docked at Able UK at Seaton Carew.

Previously named Pieter Schelte, Pioneering Spirit was designed entirely in-house by Swiss-based Allseas Group. Article continues below….

It was built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering between 2011–14 at a cost of €2.6 billion (US$3 billion), and commenced offshore operations in August 2016.

Pioneering Spirit set a world offshore lifting record of 13,500 tonnes with her first commercial lift – the removal of the Repsol-operated Yme mobile offshore production unit (MOPU) in the Norwegian North Sea – on 22 August, 2016.

It can lift a maximum weight of up to 48,000 tonnes.

Allseas has committed to building an even larger version of the same design, Amazing Grace, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.