Although the first “true” modern mega ship was launched by Maersk in 2006, the Emma Maersk was just the front runner in what was eventually going to be a container ship size explosion about 8 years later.
The Emma Maersk was the first vessel to exceed the 10,000 TEU mark (although Maersk claimed
she was only 11,000 TEU for many years). Her actual capacity was around 15,500 TEU. She remained the largest ship afloat until February 2014 when the CMA CGM Marco Polo, with a nominal capacity of 16,020 TEU, was launched.