The Mystery of the World’s Largest Wooden Ship

Friday, 20th April 2007 by

In 2001 the Radisson Hotels & Resorts chain built a huge ship next to one of their hotels in Kuwait, and they called it the Al-Hashemi-II. They issued a press release at the time, claiming that at 83.7 metres long, the Al-Hashemi-II was now officially the World’s Largest Wooden Ship, and had duly been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

However, things are never that simple in the world of Google Sightseeing!

worldslargestship.jpg

So what’s the problem? Well, I checked my copy of the Guinness Book of World Records (you really need one to write for this site), and guess what? There is no entry for “World’s Largest Wooden Ship”!

The ship’s website has a picture of an official looking Guinness World Record certificate, but I have doubts about the credibility of this evidence.

Firstly, the ship’s length is stated on that certificate as 80.4 metres — 3.3 metres less than the press release. Of course, it is entirely possible that the CNN transcript of the press release was in error here. However, the “official” certificate even has an obvious typo — “owners ofRadisson”.

If you look closely you’ll see that the certificate also has an odd disclaimer on the bottom:

guinnessfake.jpg

But before you get too excited, I’m afraid that all Guinness certificates have that very disclaimer.

But the most damning evidence against the claim that this is the “World’s Largest Wooden Ship” is the indisputable truth that ships are built for the sea, and this “ship” was actually designed and built to be a museum and restaurant. It has never, and will never set sail.

Fully disqualifying the Al-Hashemi-II I worked my way through Wikipedia’s “List of world’s largest wooden ships“, and the first decent candidate for the title is actually the recently constructed 65 metre long SV Tenacious, which has the distinction of being the World’s Largest Wooden Ship Still Afloat.

Unfortunately, being it a working ship, I have no idea where to find it in Google Earth… :D

Thanks to Virtual Globetrotting.