SAN FRANCISCO
03/22/2012 04:49 pm ET

MSC Fabiola Is The Largest Vessel Ever To Enter The San Francisco Bay (PHOTOS)

The MSC Fabiola cruised under a foggy Golden Gate Bridge yesterday afternoon, making a triumphant entrance as the largest vessel to ever enter the San Francisco Bay.

The MSC Fabiola is 1,201 feet long: longer than an aircraft carrier and nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. Fully loaded, the cargo ship weighs an astounding 166,000 tons.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS)

“Ships keep getting bigger and bigger,” Captain George Livingstone, one of the San Francisco bar pilots who navigated the ship into the Oakland port, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Before ending up in northern California, the ship docked first in Long Beach, eventually sailing up the Pacific coast and resting in its current home at Oakland Inner Harbor.

“In my 23 years as a San Francisco Bar Pilot, this is the most exciting day ever,” Captain Bruce Horton, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots, told NBC Bay Area

Built in South Korea in 2010, the Fabiola is one of the first of a new generation of super size cargo ships being built in Asia. It's not just the largest ship to enter the San Francisco Bay, but the largest to ever dock at a North American port.

"It's massive. It's amazing," NBC Reporter Robert Wellington said as he rode on a pilot boat next to the ship.

If the Fabiola's 12,000 shipping containers were to be placed end-to-end, it would stretch for more than 47 miles. When asked what the cargo contained, Captain Ed Melvin told SF Gate, “Everything. Everything we use and import.”

The Fabiola is scheduled to leave today at 6pm for an 18-day trip back to China.

Don’t have time to head to Oakland to see this beauty? Check her out in our slideshow below:

PHOTO GALLERIES

-

CONVERSATIONS