South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has started construction of the fifth Royal Dock, the world’s largest floating dock.

The dock will have a length of 432m, width of 85.6m and capacity of 130,000dwt, and will be built at at DSME’s Okpo Shipyard.

The South Korean shipbuilder said that the dry dock will be capable of building 18,000teu containerships and any other large vessels up to 68m in width.

The fifth Royal Dock is being built at Daehan Shipbuilding (DS) in the South Korean province of South Jeolla to help DSME build larger FPSOs and LNG-FPSOs that require a larger production facility.

Royal Dock-5 will help the company meet its production schedule as well as solve the issue of storage at the building site.

The dry dock is scheduled to be delivered to the Okpo shipyard on December 2012, and will be used to build three LNG carriers starting in February 2013.

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The shipbuilder previously commissioned a similar floating dock – DSME Royal Dock-4 – which was used for the construction of large-scale containerships.

The Royal Dock-4 is designed to have a floatage capacity of 120,000t with a length of 438m and width of 84m.

Floating docks allow the shipbuilder to spend less time sinking or buoying the vessel to launch vessels built at the yard.

The dock allows 16 water pumps with the capacity of 4,500m3 to raise or lower the dock by 21m in three hours.

Bigger floating docks also allow shipbuilders to build ships at a cheaper cost compared with land-based yards.

Earlier this year Oman Drydock (ODC) unveiled a plan to build a floating dock at its ship repair yard at Duqm, Oman.

The panamax-size floating dock will be built by ODC at the Port of Duqm and, when operational, it is expected to surpass the capacity of the Gulf region’s only other floating dock, which is operating in Bahrain.

ODC has a pair of giant graving docks capable of accommodating massive ships, including VLCCs, ULCCs, fourth and fifth-generation containerships, and other vessels with a maximum capacity of 600,000dwt.

The floating dock will cater to smaller domestic tonnage, such as fishing trawlers, government vessels, passenger and cargo ferries, and small to mid-size naval ships.