Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Prefixes in ship names

Ships often have a prefix attached to their names to indicate which type of vessel they are, or their national affiliation. This isn't enforced by any law or governing body - it's tradition, as are so many other maritime customs. Thus, there aren't any strict guidelines that define what class a vessel falls into (with some obvious exceptions, "USS" being a prime example.) Here are the most commonly-seen acronyms, some of which are no longer in broad use:

DS        Diesel Ship
Fishing Vessel     HMAS
FV     Fishing Vessel
HMAS     Her Majesty's Australian Ship (used exclusively by the Australian Navy)
HMCS     Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (used exclusively by the Canadian Navy)
HMS     Her Majesty's Ship (used exclusively by British Navy vessels)
MS     Motor Ship
MTS     Motor Turbine Ship
MV     Motor Vessel (this is commonly used in the US for ferries, cargo vessels, and cruise ships)
NS     Nuclear Ship
RMS     Royal Mail Ship
RV     Research Vessel (typically oceanographic science ships)
SS     Steam Ship
SSC     Semi-Submersible Craft
STR     Steamer
STV     Sail Training Vessel
TS     Training Ship
TSS     Turbine Steam Ship
USCGC     U.S. Coast Guard Cutter
USNS     United States Naval Ship (used for vessels in US Navy service but manned by civilian crew)
USS     United States Ship (used exclusively for commissioned US Navy vessels)

from http://everything2.com/title/Prefixes+in+ship+names

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