What is a ship designed to transport or store liquids or gases in bulk called?
A tanker (or tank ship or tankship) is a ship designed to transport or store liquids or gases in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and gas carrier. Tankers also carry commodities such as vegetable oils, molasses and wine.
Tankers can range in size of capacity from several hundred tons, which includes vessels for servicing small harbours and coastal settlements, to several hundred thousand tons, for long-range haulage. Besides ocean- or seagoing tankers there are also specialized inland-waterway tankers which operate on rivers and canals with an average cargo capacity up to some thousand tons.
Tankers are a relatively new concept, dating from the later years of the 19th century. Before this, technology had simply not supported the idea of carrying bulk liquids. Tankers were first used by the oil industry to transfer refined fuel in bulk from refineries to customers.
Asian companies dominate the construction of tankers. Of the world's 4,024 tankers, 2,822 (over 70%) were built in South Korea, Japan and China.