Hyundai Shipyard, the largest shipyard in the world, South Korea - Photo Pêcheur d'Images

Hyundai Shipyard, the largest shipyard in the world, South Korea

Each week a new ship arises in the city of Ulsan, South Korea and moves away, like his elders, on the Sea of Japan. These brand new vessels, which proceed to sea one after the other would almost make believe in spontaneous generation. In Ulsan, the dormitory towers are confused to the castles of the boats, and powerful spotlights illuminate the nights.
We no longer know what are the limits the shipyard, or indeed if it really stops. The workers live for, by and almost in the yard. Because it needed manpower to fulfil the order book of the largest shipyard in the world - Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) - delivering more than one vessel per week. On the whole site, there are simultaneously up to 15 vessels over 300 m under construction, finishing or delivery: oil, gas and giants containers…

At the corner of a dock, you can see a huge bulge or propeller. Elsewhere, an engine as big as a house waiting in the hangar, while a few hundred tons bridge crosses the sky, suspended at a porch. All parts of the vessel are fully manufactured and assembled on site. Steel enters on the building site, and it appears a cargo ship. Quite remarkable, the shipyard does not produce liners.
Europe, remaining at the rank of largest shipbuilder until 1970 before being overtaken by Japan and Korea, get specialized in the construction of these vessels with high added value to maintain its activity. Qt the same time Asian countries based their growth on bulk carriers and tankers. But China begins to compete with Japanese and Korean markets. Both countries are therefore turning towards the construction of ships with high value, forcing Europe.

Texte : Anne Jankeliowitch