Q-Max is a class of ship, specifically of LNG carrier. The term stands for 'Qatar Max' and reflects the largest vessel size that can dock at the Ras Laffan LNG loading terminal in Qatar. A Q-Max ship can be up to 345 meters (1,132 ft) in length, have a beam of 53.8 meters (177 feet), and a maximum height above the waterline of 34.7 meters (114 feet). It can have a maximum loaded draft of 12 meters (39 feet).
A ship this size can carry approximately 266,000 cubic meters of liquified natural gas. This is enough to supply approximately 70,000 U.S. homes for up to a year. All the Q-Max ships were built in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding.
The first of these ships was delivered in September 2008, which was handy as that year the Suez Canal expansion opened the waterway to effectively unlimited size ships, restricted only by draft. As LNG is a very light cargo, Q-Max ships draw very little water for their size, and can transit the Suez handily despite being much larger than the old Suezmax class. Despite their shallow draft, they are huge vessels - they displace approximately 129,000 DWT. They are more lightly built than tankers or bulk cargo ships, as LNG is very light, but have complex reliquification systems on board to prevent loss of LNG to heat expansion as well as fairly sophisticated firefighting systems which use fogs, foams and other volume-filling extinguishers as opposed to seawater.