VLCC is shorthand for a class of ship: the Very Large Crude Carrier. It is a classification that was originated by Shell Oil in the 1950s in its AFRA (average freight rate assessment) tanker rating system. In that system, a VLCC referred to a petroleum tanker that displaced between 160,000 and 319,999 DWT. The AFRA fell into disuse, but the VLCC classification also exists in a later system, the Flexible Market Scale. In both scales, there is another rating above VLCC, the ULCC or Ultra Large Crude Carrier, displacing over 320,000 DWT. These scales are roughly equivalent to the 'MAX' scales for container shipping (see AFRAMAX, PANAMAX, SUEZMAX, HANDYMAX).

One of the world's most (in)famous VLCCs was the Exxon Valdez, now renamed and operating in the Mediterranean Sea. The M/V Sirius Star, also a VLCC, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia in November 2008.

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