Ship name prefixes

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A ship name prefix is a combination of letters that is used on ships but is not part of the ship name .

The prefixes in the civil shipping sector are usually used to describe the type of propulsion, the use of the ship or a combination of these properties more precisely. The civil prefixes are inconsistent, not standardized and internationally different. Thus, the "SS" prefix refers in the English language, both the Sailing Ship , so a sailing ship , and the Steamship , so a steamboat . In the German-speaking area, however, "SS" is usually used to designate the sailing ship. If an "S" is added, it denotes a training ship with the prefix SSS. Just as there is no regulation of the spelling, in addition to the pure letter combination, for example for motor ships ("MS"), "MS" or "M / S" is also used in the literature. In addition, it is more difficult for laypeople to distinguish between prefix and name part because owners sometimes give their ships names that start with an abbreviation, such as the French shipping company CMA CGM .

In the naval sector , prefixes were not and are not used universally. For example, there is an order for the United States Navy regarding the binding use of the prefix USS , but - contrary to the widespread use in literature - only valid from 1907. The Imperial Japanese Navy, on the other hand, completely dispenses with such prefixes. Nevertheless, some specialist authors in the literature use prefixes such as "HIJMS" ("His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship", ( English ) for "His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship") or "IJN" ("Imperial Japanese Navy", (English) for "Imperial Japanese Navy").

The following list gives an orientation about the more well-known prefixes as they appear in the literature, without their official character being checked so far:

country service prefix meaning translation
English language CS Club Ship Club ship
English language CV Container Vessel Container Ship
English language DSV Deep Submergence Vessel Deep sea submarine
English language FB, F / B Ferry boat Ferry
English language HSF High speed ferry High speed ferry
English language MF Motor Ferry Motor ferry
English language F / V Fishing vessel Fishing ship
English language GTS Gas turbine steamer Gas turbine ship
English language MS Motor Ship Motor ship
English language MSY Motor sailing yacht Motor sailing ship
English language MT, M / T Motor tanker Engine tanker
English language MV, M / V Motor Vessel Motor ship (MS)
English language NS Nuclear Ship Nuclear ship
English language PS Paddle steamer Paddle steamer
English language RV Research Vessel Research ship
English language SS Steam Ship Steamship
English language SS Sailing Ship Sailing ship
English language SV, S / V Sailing vessel Sailing ship
English language S / Y Sailing yacht Sailing yacht
English language TS Turbine steamer Steam turbine ship
English language TS Training Ship Sailing ship as part of Sail Training
Argentina Argentine Navy ERA Armada de la Republica Argentina Fleet of the Republic of Argentina
Australia Royal Australian Navy HMAS His / Her Majesty's Australian Ship His / Her Majesty's Australian ship
Bahamas Bahamas Armed Forces HMBS His / Her Majesty's Bahamian Ship His / Her Majesty's Bahamian ship
Bangladesh Navy of Bangladesh BNS Bangladesh Naval Ship Bangladeshi naval ship
Barbados Barbados Armed Forces MBS His / Her Majesty's Barbadian Ship His / Her Majesty's Barbades ship
Belgium Belgian Navy BNS Belgium Naval Ship ( NATO designation) Belgian naval ship
Denmark Royal Danish Navy HDMS Hans / Hendes Dansk Majestæt Skib Danish naval ship
Denmark Royal Danish Navy KDM Kongelige Danske Marine Royal Danish Navy
German Empire Imperial Navy SMS His Majesty's Ship -
German Empire Imperial Navy SMH His Majesty's auxiliary ship -
German Empire Imperial Navy SMY His Majesty's yacht -
German Empire Imperial Navy SM U - ## His Majesty's Submarine -
German Reich ( Third Reich ) Navy - (no prefix; some authors use "DKM" for "German Navy") -
Germany civil CMS Container motor ship -
Germany civil DS Steamship
Germany German Navy FGS Federal German Ship ( NATO designation) German ship
Germany civil SS Sailing ship
Germany SSS Sail training ship
Ecuador Ecuadorian fleet BAE Buque de la Armada de Ecuador Ship of the fleet of Ecuador
Fiji Navy of the Republic of Fiji RFNS Republic of Fiji Naval Ship Ship of the Navy of the Republic of Fiji
France French Navy FS French Ship ( NATO designation); France itself does not use any name prefixes French ship
Greece Greek Navy HS Hellenic Ship ( NATO designation) Greek ship
Guyana Guyanese Defense Forces GDFS Guyanan Defense Forces Ship Guyanese Defense Forces ship
India Indian Navy (pre-Republican) HMIS His / Her Majesty's Indian Ship Her / His Majesty's Indian Ship
India Indian Navy INS Indian Naval Ship Indian naval ship
Indonesia Indonesian National Army at Sea KRI Kapal Republic of Indonesia Ship of the Indonesian Republic
Indonesia Indonesian Republic KL Kapal Layar Sailing ship
Indonesia Indonesian Republic KM Kapal engine Motor ship
Ireland Irish naval service LE Long Éireannach Irish ship
Ireland Commissioners of Irish Lights ILV Irish Light Vessel Irish buoy laying tender / lighthouse tender
Israel Israeli Navy INS Israeli Naval Ship Israeli naval ship
Italy , Kingdom
(until 1946)
Marina Regia
Royal Italian Navy
RN Nave Regia Royal ship
Italy , Kingdom
(until 1946)
Marina Regia
(Royal Italian Navy)
R.SMG. Regio Sommergibile Royal submarine
Italy , Republic
(since 1946)
Marina Militare Italiana
(Italian Navy)
ITS Italian Ship ( NATO name ); Italy itself no longer uses name prefixes Italian ship
Japan Imperial Japanese Navy - (no prefix; some authors use "HIJMS" for "His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship") -
Japan (after World War II ) Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces JDS JMSDF Defense Ship Defense ship of the Marine Self-Defense Forces
Canada Canadian Forces Naval Command HMCS His / Her Majesty's Canadian Ship His / Her Majesty's Canadian ship
Canada Canadian Coast Guard CCGS Canadian Coast Guard Ship Canadian coast guard ship
Canada Canadian Coast Guard CCGC Canadian Coast Guard cutter Canadian Coast Guard Cutter
Kenya Kenyan Navy KNS Kenyan Naval Ship Kenyan naval ship
Colombia National fleet of Colombia ARC Armada de la Republica de Colombia Fleet of the Republic of Colombia
Confederate States of America Navy of the Confederate States CSS Confederate States Ship Confederate ship
Malaysia Royal Malaysian Fleet KD Kapal Di-Raja Royal ship
Mexico Mexican Navy POOR Armada de la Republica Mexicana Mexican Navy
Netherlands Royal Dutch Navy Mr.Ms. or Zr.Ms. Harer Majesteits or Zijner Majesteits Her / His Majesty's ship
Nigeria Nigerian Navy NNS Nigerian Naval Ship Nigerian naval ship
New Zealand Royal New Zealand Navy HMNZS His / Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship His / Her Majesty's New Zealand ship
Norway Norwegian Merchant Navy DS Dampskip Steamship
Norway Royal Norwegian Navy KNM (since 1946) Kongelige Norske Marine Royal Norwegian Navy
Norway Norwegian Coast Guard KV Kystvakt Coast guard
Oman Omani Navy SNV Sultanate Naval Vessel Ship of the Navy of the Sultanate
Austria-Hungary kuk Kriegsmarine SMS His Majesty's Ship
Austria-Hungary kuk Kriegsmarine SMU His Majesty's Submarine
Pakistan Pakistani Navy PNS Pakistani Naval Ship Pakistani naval ship
Papua New Guinea ? HMPNGS His / Her Majesty's Papua New Guinea Ship His / Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship
Peru Peruvian fleet BAP Buque Armada Peruana Ship of the Peruvian Fleet
Philippines Philippine Navy BRP Barka ng Republika ng Pilipinas Ship of the Republic of the Philippines
Poland Polish Navy ORP Okręt Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej Ship of the Republic of Poland
Portugal Portuguese Navy NRP Navio da República Portuguesa Ship of the Portuguese Republic
Portugal Portuguese Navy PNS Portuguese Naval Ship ( NATO designation, Portugal itself, uses the name prefix NRP ) Portuguese naval ship
Portugal Portuguese Navy UAM Unidade Auxiliar da Marinha Auxiliary Unit of the Navy
Portugal civil N / A Navio Vapor Steamship
Portugal civil N / M Navio engine Motor ship
Portugal civil N / T Navio Turbina Steam turbine ship
Romania Romanian Navy NMS Nava Majestății Sale His Majesty's Ship
Saudi Arabia Saudi Navy HMS His Majesty's Ship His Majesty's Ship
Sweden Swedish Navy HMS Hans / Hennes Majesty's Skepp His / Her Majesty's ship
Singapore Republic of Singapore Navy RSS Republic of Singapore Ship Ship of the Republic of Singapore
Spain Armada Española SNS Spanish Naval Ship ( NATO name, Spain does not use any name prefixes) Spanish naval ship
Sri Lanka Navy of Sri Lanka SLNS Sri Lanka Naval Ship Sri Lanka naval ship
South Africa South African Navy SAS South African Ship South African ship
Thailand Royal Thai Navy HTMS His Thai Majesty's Ship His Thai Majesty's ship
Turkey Turkish Navy TCG Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Gemisi Ship of the Republic of Turkey
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force TTS Trinidad & Tobago Ship Ship from Trinidad and Tobago
United States scout SSS Sea Scout Ship Ship of the Sea Scouts of the United States
United States United States Air Force USAFS United States Air Force Ship United States Air Force ship
United States United States Army USAS United States Army Ship Ship of the United States Army
United States United States Army USAV United States Army Vessel United States Army vehicle
United States United States Army USAT United States Army Transport Transport ship of the United States Army
United States United States Army USAHS United States Army Hospital Ship United States Army hospital ship
USA (obsolete) United States Navy USF United States Frigate United States frigate
USA (obsolete) United States Navy USFS United States flagship United States flagship
United States United States Navy USS United States Ship United States ship
United States United States Navy PCU Pre-Commissioning Unit United States ship that has not yet been commissioned
United States Military Sealift Command USNS United States Naval Ship United States naval ship
United States United States Coast Guard USCGC United States Coast Guard cutter United States Coast Guard cutter
Uruguay Uruguayan Navy ROU República Oriental del Uruguay Republic of Uruguay
Venezuela Venezuelan fleet ARV Armada República Venezolana Fleet of the Republic of Venezuela
United Kingdom Mail ships RMS Royal Mail steamer Royal mail steamer
United Kingdom Royal Auxiliary Fleet RFA Royal Fleet Auxiliary Royal Auxiliary Fleet
United Kingdom Hospital ships HMHS His / Her Majesty's Hospital Ship His / Her Majesty's hospital ship
United Kingdom Royal Navy HMAV His / Her Majesty's Armed Vessel His / Her Majesty's armed vehicle
United Kingdom Royal Navy HMS His / Her Majesty's Ship / Submarine His / Her Majesty's ship / submarine
United Kingdom Royal Navy HMY His / Her Majesty's yacht His / Her Majesty's yacht
United Kingdom Royal Navy HBMS His / Her Britannic Majesty's Ship (obsolete) His / Her British Majesty's Ship
United Kingdom Royal Navy HMT His / Her Majesty's Tug / Troopship / Trawler His / Her Majesty's tugboat / troop carrier / trawler
United Kingdom Northern Lighthouse Board NLV Northern Lighthouse Vessel Northern Lighthouse Authority ship
United Kingdom State research vessels RRS Royal Research Ship Royal research ship

See also


John Jordan: Warship 2015 . 1st edition. Bloomsbury, 2015, ISBN 978-1-84486-296-2 , pp. 179 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).