Ship transport
Overview
 
Ship transport is watercraft
Watercraft
A watercraft is a vessel or craft designed to move across or through water. The name is derived from the term "craft" which was used to describe all types of water going vessels...

 carrying people (passengers) or goods (cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

). Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 and pleasure cruises
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

.

Ship transport can be over any distance by boat, ship, sailboat or barge, over oceans and lakes, through canals or along rivers.
Encyclopedia
Ship transport is watercraft
Watercraft
A watercraft is a vessel or craft designed to move across or through water. The name is derived from the term "craft" which was used to describe all types of water going vessels...

 carrying people (passengers) or goods (cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

). Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 and pleasure cruises
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

.

Ship transport can be over any distance by boat, ship, sailboat or barge, over oceans and lakes, through canals or along rivers. Shipping may be for commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

, recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

 or the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

. Virtually any material that can be moved, can be moved by water, however water transport becomes impractical when material delivery is highly time-critical. "General cargo" is goods packaged in boxes, cases, pallets, and barrels. Containerization
Containerization
Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers...

 revolutionized ship transport in the 1960s. When a cargo is carried in more than one mode, it is intermodal
Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

 or co-modal
Co-modality
The co-modality is a notion introduced by the European commission in 2006 in the field of the transport policy to define an approach of the globality of the transport modes and of their combinations...

.

Merchant shipping

A nation's shipping fleet (merchant navy, merchant marine, merchant fleet) consists of the ships operated by civilian crews to transport passengers or cargo. Professionals are merchant seaman, merchant sailor, and merchant mariner, or simply seaman, sailor, or mariner. The terms "seaman" or "sailor" may refer to a member of a country's navy.

According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook
The World Factbook
The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

, the world total number of merchant ships of 1,000 Gross Register Tons or over was 30,936. Statistics for individual countries are available at the List of merchant marine capacity by country.

Professional mariners

A ship's complement can be divided into four categories: the deck department, the engineering department, the steward's department, and other.

Deck department

Officer positions in the deck department
Deck department
The Deck Department is an organizational unit aboard naval and merchant ships. A Deck Officer is an officer serving in the deck department.-Merchant shipping:...

 include but not limited to: Master
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

 and his Chief
Chief Mate
A Chief Mate or Chief Officer, usually also synonymous with the First Mate or First Officer , is a licensed member and head of the deck department of a merchant ship...

, Second
Second Mate
A second mate or second officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The second mate is the third in command and a watchkeeping officer, customarily the ship's navigator. Other duties vary, but the second mate is often the medical officer and in charge of maintaining...

, and Third
Third Mate
A Third Mate or Third Officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The third mate is a watchstander and customarily the ship's safety officer and fourth-in-command...

 officers. The official classifications for unlicensed members of the deck department are Able Seaman
Able Seaman (occupation)
An able seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles.-Watchstander:...

 and Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman (occupation)
An ordinary seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The position is an apprenticeship to become an able seaman, and has been for centuries...

.

A common deck crew for a ship includes:
  • (1) Chief Officer
    Chief Mate
    A Chief Mate or Chief Officer, usually also synonymous with the First Mate or First Officer , is a licensed member and head of the deck department of a merchant ship...

    /Chief Mate
  • (1) Second Officer
    Second Mate
    A second mate or second officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The second mate is the third in command and a watchkeeping officer, customarily the ship's navigator. Other duties vary, but the second mate is often the medical officer and in charge of maintaining...

     /Second Mate
  • (1) Third Officer
    Third Mate
    A Third Mate or Third Officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The third mate is a watchstander and customarily the ship's safety officer and fourth-in-command...

     / Third Mate
  • (1) Boatswain
    Boatswain
    A boatswain , bo's'n, bos'n, or bosun is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The boatswain supervises the other unlicensed members of the ship's deck department, and typically is not a watchstander, except on vessels with small crews...

  • (2-6) Able Seamen
    Able Seaman (occupation)
    An able seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles.-Watchstander:...

  • (0-2) Ordinary Seamen
    Ordinary Seaman (occupation)
    An ordinary seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The position is an apprenticeship to become an able seaman, and has been for centuries...



A deck cadet is person who is carrying out mandatory seatime to achieve their officer of the watch certificate. Their time onboard is spent learning the operations and tasks of everyday life on a merchant vessel.

Engineering department

A ship's engineering department consists of the members of a ship's crew that operate and maintain the propulsion and other systems on board the vessel. Marine Engineering staff also deal with the "Hotel" facilities on board, notably the sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

, lighting, air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

 and water systems. They deal with bulk fuel transfers, and require training in firefighting and first aid, as well as in dealing with the ship's boats and other nautical tasks- especially with cargo loading/discharging gear and safety systems, though the specific cargo discharge function remains the responsibility of deck officers and deck workers. On LPG and LNG tanker
Tanker (ship)
A tanker is a ship designed to transport liquids in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and the liquefied natural gas carrier.-Background:...

s however, a cargo engineer works with the deck department during cargo operations, as well as being a watchkeeping engineer.

A common Engineering crew for a ship includes:
  • (1) Chief Engineer
    Chief Engineer
    In marine transportation, the chief engineer is a licensed mariner in charge of the engineering department on a merchant vessel. "Chief engineer" is the official title of someone qualified to oversee the entire engine department; the qualification is colloquially called a "chief's...

  • (1) Second Engineer / First Assistant Engineer
  • (1) Third Engineer / Second Assistant Engineer
  • (1-2) Fourth Engineer
    Third Assistant Engineer
    The Third Assistant Engineer, also known as the Fourth Engineer, is a licensed member of the engineering department on a merchant vessel....

     / Third Assistant Engineer
  • (0-2) Fifth Engineer / Junior Engineer
  • (1-3) Oiler
    Oiler (occupation)
    An oiler is a worker whose main job is to oil machinery. In previous eras there were oiler positions in various industries, including maritime work , railroading, steelmaking, and mining...

     (unlicensed qualified rating)
  • (0-3) Greaser/s (unlicensed qualified rating)
  • (1-5) Entry-level rating (such as Wiper (occupation)
    Wiper (occupation)
    A wiper is the most junior crewmember in the engine room of a ship. The role of a wiper consists of cleaning the engine spaces and machinery, and assisting the engineers as directed....

    , Utilityman, etc.)


Many American ships also carry a Qualified Member of the Engine Department
Qualified Member of the Engine Department
A Qualified Member of the Engineering Department also known as an Unlicensed Junior Engineer or QMED is a senior unlicensed crewmember in the engine room of a ship. The QMED performs a variety of tasks connected with the maintenance and repair of engine room, fireroom, machine shop, ice-machine...

. Other possible positions include Motorman, Machinist
Machinist
A machinist is a person who uses machine tools to make or modify parts, primarily metal parts, a process known as machining. This is accomplished by using machine tools to cut away excess material much as a woodcarver cuts away excess wood to produce his work. In addition to metal, the parts may...

, Electrician
Electrician
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

, Refrigeration Engineer, and Tankerman. Engine Cadets are trainee engineers who are completing sea time necessary before they can obtain a watchkeeping license.

Steward's department

A typical Steward's department for a cargo ship would be composed of a Chief Steward
Chief Steward
A chief steward is the senior unlicensed crew member working in the Steward's Department of a ship. Since there is no purser on most ships in the United States Merchant Marine, the steward is the senior person in the department, whence its name...

, a Chief Cook
Chief Cook
A chief cook is a senior unlicensed crewmember working in the steward's department of a merchant ship.The chief cook directs and participates in the preparation and serving of meals; determines timing and sequence of operations required to meet serving times; inspects galley and equipment for...

, and a Steward's Assistant
Steward's Assistant
A steward's assistant is an unlicensed, entry-level crewmember in the Steward's department of a merchant ship. This position can also be referred to as steward , galley utilityman, messman, supply or waiter.The role of the SA consists mainly of stocking, cleaning and assisting with the...

. All three positions are typically filled by unlicensed personnel.

The chief steward directs, instructs, and assigns personnel performing such functions as preparing and serving meals; cleaning and maintaining officers' quarters and steward department areas; and receiving, issuing, and inventorying stores.

On large passenger vessels, the Catering Department is headed by the Chief Purser
Purser
The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early fourteenth century and existed as a Naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040 when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain...

 and managed by assistant pursers. Although they enjoy the benefits of having officer rank, they generally progress through the ranks to become pursers. Under the pursers are the department heads - such as chief cook, head waiter, head barman etc. They are responsible for the administration of their own areas.

The chief steward also plans menus; compiles supply, overtime, and cost control records. May requisition or purchase stores and equipment. May bake bread, rolls, cakes, pies, and pastries.

A chief steward's duties may overlap with those of the Steward's Assistant
Steward's Assistant
A steward's assistant is an unlicensed, entry-level crewmember in the Steward's department of a merchant ship. This position can also be referred to as steward , galley utilityman, messman, supply or waiter.The role of the SA consists mainly of stocking, cleaning and assisting with the...

, the Chief Cook
Chief Cook
A chief cook is a senior unlicensed crewmember working in the steward's department of a merchant ship.The chief cook directs and participates in the preparation and serving of meals; determines timing and sequence of operations required to meet serving times; inspects galley and equipment for...

, and other Steward's Department crewmembers.

In the United States Merchant Marine
United States Merchant Marine
The United States Merchant Marine refers to the fleet of U.S. civilian-owned merchant vessels, operated by either the government or the private sector, that engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine is...

, in order to be occupied as a chief steward a person has to have a Merchant Mariner's Document
Merchant Mariner's Document
Countries with a Merchant Navy or Merchant Marine require identifying credentials for their mariners. The Merchant Mariner's Document or Z-card in the United States, and the Ordinary Seaman's Certificate in the United Kingdom are examples of these credentials.-United Kingdom:An Ordinary Seaman...

 issued by the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

. Because of international conventions and agreements, all chief cooks who sail internationally are similarly documented by their respective countries.

Other Departments

Staff officer positions on a ship, including Junior Assistant Purser, Senior Assistant Purser, Purser
Purser
The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early fourteenth century and existed as a Naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040 when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain...

, Chief Purser, Medical Doctor, Professional Nurse, Marine Physician Assistant, and Hospital Corpsman, are considered administrative positions and are therefore regulated by Certificates of Registry issued by the United States Coast Guard. Pilots are also merchant marine officers and are licensed by the Coast Guard. Formerly, there was also a radio department, headed by a chief radio officer and supported by a number of radio officers. Since the introduction of GMDSS (Satellite communications) and the subsequent exemptions from carrying radio officers if the vessel is so equipped, this department has fallen away, although many ships do still carry specialist radio officers, particularly passenger vessels. Many radio officers became 'electro-technical officers', and transferred into the engineering department.

Life at sea

Mariners live much of their life spent beyond the reach of land. They face sometimes dangerous conditions at sea. Yet men and women still go to sea. For some, the attraction is a life unencumbered with the restraints of life ashore. Sea-going adventure and a chance to see the world also appeal to many seafarers. Whatever the calling, those who live and work at sea invariably confront social isolation.

Findings by the Seafarer's International Research Center indicate a leading cause of mariners leaving the industry is "almost invariably because they want to be with their families." U.S. merchant ships typically do not allow family members to accompany seafarers on voyages. Industry experts increasingly recognize isolation, stress, and fatigue as occupational hazards. Advocacy groups such as International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, and the Nautical Institute are seeking improved international standards for mariners.

Ocean voyages are steeped in routine. Maritime tradition dictates that each day be divided into six four-hour periods. Three groups of watchkeepers from the engine and deck departments work four hours on then have eight hours off watchkeeping. However there are many overtime jobs to be done daily. This cycle repeats endlessly, 24 hours a day while the ship is at sea. Members of the steward department typically are day workers who put in at least eight-hour shifts. Operations at sea, including repairs, safeguarding against piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

, securing cargo, underway replenishment
Underway replenishment
Underway replenishment or replenishment at sea is a method of transferring fuel, munitions, and stores from one ship to another while under way.-History:...

, and other duties provide opportunities for overtime work. Service aboard ships typically extends for months at a time, followed by protracted shore leave. However, some seamen secure jobs on ships they like and stay aboard for years.

In rare cases, veteran mariners choose never to go ashore when in port. Further, the often quick turnaround of many modern ships, spending only a matter of hours in port, limits a seafarer's free-time ashore. Moreover, some foreign seamen entering U.S. ports from a watchlist of 25 high-risk countries face restrictions on shore leave due to security concerns in a post 9/11 environment. However, shore leave restrictions while in U.S. ports impact American seamen as well. For example, the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
The International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots or MM&P is a United States labor union representing licensed mariners. It is the marine division of the International Longshoremen's Association....

 notes a trend of U.S. shipping terminal operators restricting seamen from traveling from the ship to the terminal gate. Further, in cases where transit is allowed, special "security fees" are at times assessed.

Such restrictions on shore leave coupled with reduced time in port by many ships translate into longer periods at sea. Mariners report that extended periods at sea living and working with shipmates who for the most part are strangers takes getting used to. At the same time, there is an opportunity to meet people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Recreational opportunities have improved aboard some U.S. ships, which may feature gyms and day rooms for watching movies, swapping sea stories, and other activities. And in some cases, especially tankers, it is made possible for a mariner to be accompanied by members of his family. However, a mariner’s off duty time is largely a solitary affair, pursuing hobbies, reading, writing letters, and sleeping.

On modern ocean going vessels, typically registered with a flag of convenience
Flag of convenience
The term flag of convenience describes the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners, and flying that state's civil ensign on the ship. Ships are registered under flags of convenience to reduce operating costs or avoid the...

, life has changed immensely in the last 20 years. Most large vessels include a gym and often a swimming pool for use by the crew. Since the Exxon Valdez incident
Exxon Valdez oil spill
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused...

, the focus of leisure time activity has shifted from having officer and crew bars, to simply having lounge-style areas where officers or crew can sit to watch movies. With many companies now providing TVs and DVD players in cabins, and enforcing strict smoking policies, it is not surprising that the bar is now a much quieter place on most ships. In some instances games consoles are provided for the officers and crew. The officers enjoy a much higher standard of living on board ocean going vessels. Crews are generally poorly paid, poorly qualified and have to complete contracts of approx 9 months before returning home on leave. They often come from countries where the average industrial wage is still very low, such as the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 or India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Officers however, come from all over the world and it is not uncommon to mix the nationality of the officers on board ships. Officers are often the recipients of university degrees and have completed vast amounts of training in order to reach their rank. Officers benefit on board by having larger, more comfortable cabins, table service for their meals, etc. Contracts average at the 4 month mark for officers, with generous leave. Most Ocean going vessels now operate an Unmanned Engineroom System allowing engineers to work days only. The engine room is computer controlled by night, although the duty engineer will make inspections during unmanned operation. Engineers work in a hot, humid, noisy atmosphere. Communication in the engineroom is therefore by hand signals and lip-reading, and good teamwork often stands in place of any communication at all.

Ships and watercraft

Ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s and other watercraft
Watercraft
A watercraft is a vessel or craft designed to move across or through water. The name is derived from the term "craft" which was used to describe all types of water going vessels...

 are used for ship transport. Types can be distinguished by propulsion
Marine propulsion
Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate thrust to move a ship or boat across water. While paddles and sails are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting a motor or engine turning a propeller, or less frequently, in jet...

, size or cargo type. Recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

al or education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

al craft still use wind power, while some smaller craft use internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s to drive one or more propeller
Propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

s, or in the case of jet boats, an inboard water jet. In shallow draft areas, such as the Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

, some craft, such as the hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

, are propelled by large pusher-prop fans.

Most modern merchant ships can be placed in one of a few categories, such as:
Bulk carrier
Bulk carrier
A bulk carrier, bulk freighter, or bulker is a merchant ship specially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, and cement in its cargo holds. Since the first specialized bulk carrier was built in 1852, economic forces have fueled the development of these ships,...

s
, such as the Sabrina I seen here, are cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s used to transport bulk cargo
Bulk cargo
Bulk cargo is commodity cargo that is transported unpackaged in large quantities. This cargo is usually dropped or poured, with a spout or shovel bucket, as a liquid or as a mass of relatively small solids , into a bulk carrier ship's hold, railroad car, or tanker truck/trailer/semi-trailer body...

 items such as ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 or food staples (rice, grain, etc.) and similar cargo. It can be recognized by the large box-like hatches on its deck, designed to slide outboard for loading. A bulk carrier could be either dry or wet. Most lakes are too small to accommodate bulk ships, but a large fleet of lake freighter
Lake freighter
Lake freighters, or Lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes. The best known was the , the most recent and largest major vessel to be wrecked on the Lakes. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships. In the mid-20th century, 300 lakers worked the...

s has been plying the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and St. Lawrence Seaway of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 for over a century.
Container ship
Container ship
Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport.-History:...

s
are cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s that carry their entire load in truck-size containers, in a technique called containerization
Containerization
Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers...

. They form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

. Informally known as "box boats," they carry the majority of the world's dry cargo. Most container ships are propelled by diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

s, and have crews of between 10 and 30 people. They generally have a large accommodation block at the stern
Stern
The stern is the rear or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section...

, directly above the engine room
Engine room
On a ship, the engine room, or ER, commonly refers to the machinery spaces of a vessel. To increase the safety and damage survivability of a vessel, the machinery necessary for operations may be segregated into various spaces, the engine room is one of these spaces, and is generally the largest...

.
Tanker
Tanker (ship)
A tanker is a ship designed to transport liquids in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and the liquefied natural gas carrier.-Background:...

s
are cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s for the transport of fluids, such as crude oil, petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas that has been converted temporarily to liquid form for ease of storage or transport....

 and chemicals, also vegetable oils, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and other food - the tanker sector comprises one third of the world tonnage.
Reefer ships are cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s typically used to transport perishable commodities which require temperature-controlled
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

 transportation, mostly fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

, fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s, dairy product
Dairy product
Dairy products are generally defined as foods produced from cow's or domestic buffalo's milk. They are usually high-energy-yielding food products. A production plant for such processing is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Raw milk for processing comes mainly from cows, and, to a lesser extent,...

s and other foodstuffs.
Roll-on/roll-off ships, such as the Chi-Cheemaun, are cargo ship
Cargo ship
A cargo ship or freighter is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year; they handle the bulk of international trade...

s designed to carry wheeled cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 such as automobiles, trailers
Trailer (vehicle)
A trailer is generally an unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such vehicles used for transport of goods and materials....

 or railway carriages
Railroad car
A railroad car or railway vehicle , also known as a bogie in Indian English, is a vehicle on a rail transport system that is used for the carrying of cargo or passengers. Cars can be coupled together into a train and hauled by one or more locomotives...

. RORO (or ro/ro) vessels have built-in ramps which allow the cargo to be efficiently "rolled on" and "rolled off" the vessel when in port. While smaller ferries that operate across river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s and other short distances still often have built-in ramps, the term RORO is generally reserved for larger ocean-going vessels.
Coastal trading vessel
Coastal trading vessel
Coastal trading vessels, also known as coasters, are shallow-hulled ships used for trade between locations on the same island or continent. Their shallow hulls mean that they can get through reefs where deeper-hulled sea-going ships usually cannot....

s
, also known as coasters, are shallow-hulled ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s used for trade between locations on the same island or continent. Their shallow hulls mean that they can get through reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s where sea-going ships usually cannot (sea-going ships have a very deep hull for supplies and trade etc.).
Ferries
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

are a form of transport, usually a boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

 or ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

, but also other forms, carrying (or ferrying) passengers and sometimes their vehicles. Ferries are also used to transport freight (in lorries and sometimes unpowered freight containers) and even railroad cars. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services. A foot-passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, is sometimes called a waterbus or water taxi
Water taxi
A water taxi or water bus, also known as a commuter boat, is a watercraft used to provide public transport, usually but not always in an urban environment. Service may be scheduled with multiple stops, operating in a similar manner to a bus, or on demand to many locations, operating in a similar...

. Ferries form a part of the public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 systems of many waterside cities and islands, allowing direct transit between points at a capital cost much lower than bridge
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

s or tunnel
Tunnel
A tunnel is an underground passageway, completely enclosed except for openings for egress, commonly at each end.A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road traffic, for rail traffic, or for a canal. Some tunnels are aqueducts to supply water for consumption or for hydroelectric stations or are sewers...

s. Many of the ferries operating in Northern European waters are ro/ro ships. See the Herald of Free Enterprise and M/S Estonia
M/S Estonia
MS Estonia, previously MS Viking Sally , MS Silja Star , and MS Wasa King , was a cruise ferry built in 1979/80 at the German shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg. The ship sank in the Baltic Sea in one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century...

 disasters.
Cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

s
are passenger ship
Passenger ship
A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is...

s used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are considered an essential part of the experience. Cruising
Cruising (maritime)
Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

 has become a major part of the tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 industry, with millions of passengers each year as of 2006. The industry's rapid growth has seen nine or more newly built ships catering to a North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n clientele added every year since 2001, as well as others servicing Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an clientele. Smaller markets such as the Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

-Pacific region are generally serviced by older tonnage displaced by new ships introduced into the high growth areas. On the Baltic sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 this market is served by cruiseferries
Cruiseferry
A cruiseferry is a ship that combines the features of a cruise ship with a Ro-Pax ferry. Many passengers travel with the ships for the cruise experience, staying only a few hours at the destination port or not leaving the ship at all, while others use the ships as means of...

.
Ocean Liner
Ocean liner
An ocean liner is a ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes .Cargo vessels running to a schedule are sometimes referred to as...

is a passenger ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Ocean liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes.
Ocean liners are usually strongly built with a high freeboard to withstand rough seas and adverse conditions encountered in the open ocean, having large capacities for fuel, food and other consumables on long voyages.
Cable layer
Cable layer
A cable layer or cable ship is a deep-sea vessel designed and used to lay underwater cables for telecommunications, electricity, and such. Cable ships are distinguished by large cable sheaveshttp://atlantic-cable.com/Cableships/Monarch%284%29/ | History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea...

is a deep-sea vessel
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

 designed and used to lay underwater cable
Cable
A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry...

s for telecommunications, electricity, and such. A large superstructure
Superstructure
A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships...

, and one or more spools that feed off the transom
Transom (nautical)
In naval architecture, a transom is the surface that forms the stern of a vessel. Transoms may be flat or curved and they may be vertical, raked forward, also known as a retroussé or reverse transom, angling forward from the waterline to the deck, or raked aft, often simply called "raked", angling...

 distinguish it.
A tugboat
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

is a boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

 used to manoeuvre, primarily by towing
Towing
Towing is the process of pulling or drawing behind a chain, line, bar or some other form of couplings. Towing is most visibly performed by road vehicles, but anything from waterborne vessels to tractors to people can tow cargo. Troop carrying and cargo carrying gliders were towed behind powered...

 or pushing other vessels
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

 (see shipping
Shipping
Shipping has multiple meanings. It can be a physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods and cargo, by land, air, and sea. It also can describe the movement of objects by ship.Land or "ground" shipping can be by train or by truck...

) in harbours, over the open sea or through river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s and canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s. They are also used to tow barge
Barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

s, disabled ships, or other equipment like towboats.
A dredger (sometimes also called a dredge) is a ship used to excavate in shallow seas or fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

 areas with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s and disposing of them at a different location.
A barge
Barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

is a flat-bottomed boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

, built mainly for river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 and canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 transport of heavy goods. Most barges are not self-propelled and need to be moved by tugboat
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

s towing or towboats pushing them. Barges on canals (towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath
Towpath
A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...

) contended with the railway in the early industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 but were outcompeted
History of the British canal system
The British canal system of water transport played a vital role in the United Kingdom's Industrial Revolution at a time when roads were only just emerging from the medieval mud and long trains of pack horses were the only means of "mass" transit by road of raw materials and finished products The...

 in the carriage of high value items due to the higher speed, falling costs, and route flexibility of rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

.
A Multi-purpose ship (sometimes called a general cargo ship) is used to transport a variety of goods from bulk commodities to break bulk and heavy cargoes. To provide maximum trading flexibility they are usually geared and modern examples are fitted for the carriage of container
Shipping container
A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes...

s and grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

. Generally they will have large open holds and tweendecks to facilitate the carriage of different cargoes on the same voyage. The crew will be highly competent in the securing of break bulk cargoes and the ship will be equipped with various lashings and other equipment for sea fastening.


Ships that fall outside these categories include Semi-submersible heavy-lift ships or OHGC.

Typical in-transit times

A cargo ship sailing from a European port to a US one will typically take 10–12 days depending on water currents and other factors..

Ship transport infrastructure

For a port to efficiently send and receive cargo, it requires infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

. Harbor
Harbor
A harbor or harbour , or haven, is a place where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or else are stored for future use. Harbors can be natural or artificial...

s, seaports and marina
Marina
A marina is a dock or basin with moorings and supplies for yachts and small boats.A marina differs from a port in that a marina does not handle large passenger ships or cargo from freighters....

s host watercraft, and consist of components such as pier
Pier
A pier is a raised structure, including bridge and building supports and walkways, over water, typically supported by widely spread piles or pillars...

s, wharf
Wharf
A wharf or quay is a structure on the shore of a harbor where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers.Such a structure includes one or more berths , and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships.A wharf commonly comprises a fixed...

s, dock
Dock (maritime)
A dock is a human-made structure or group of structures involved in the handling of boats or ships, usually on or close to a shore.However, the exact meaning varies among different variants of the English language...

s and roadstead
Roadstead
A roadstead is a place outside a harbor where a ship can lie at anchor. It is an enclosed area with an opening to the sea, narrower than a bay or gulf. It has a surface that cannot be confused with an estuary. It can be created artificially by jetties or dikes...

s.

See also

  • List of maritime colleges
  • List of merchant marine capacity by country
  • List of sailors
  • List of ship companies
  • Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea
    Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea
    The Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea is one of the four Lloyd's Medal types bestowed by Lloyd's of London. In 1939, with the coming of World War II, Lloyd's set up a committee to find means of honouring seafarers who performed acts of exceptional courage at sea, and this resulted in the...

  • Maritime history
    Maritime history
    Maritime history is the study of human activity at sea. It covers a broad thematic element of history that often uses a global approach, although national and regional histories remain predominant...

  • Merchant vessel
    Merchant vessel
    A merchant vessel is a ship that transports cargo or passengers. The closely related term commercial vessel is defined by the United States Coast Guard as any vessel engaged in commercial trade or that carries passengers for hire...

  • The Marine Society
    The Marine Society
    The Marine Society was the world's first seafarers’ charity. In 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Saxony Britain urgently needed to recruit men for the navy...



External links

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