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Ship prefix

A ship prefix are letters, usually abbreviations, used in front of a civilian ship or man'o'war (naval ship).

Ship prefixes in the United States Navy have consistently been "United States Type," where Type was "Ship," "Sloop," "Bark," and so on. (The types other than "Ship" have fallen out of use.) Hull classification symbols -- "BB" for battleships and so on -- were haphazard, but in 1907 were standardized by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Table of Ship Prefixes

genericall MVMotor Vessel
genericall PSPaddle Steamer
genericall SSSteam Ship
genericall SVSailing Vessel
ArgentinaArgentine Navy ARAArmada de la Republica Argentina
AustraliaRoyal Australian Navy HMASHis/Her Majesty's Australian Ship
Bahamas??[?] HMBSHis/Her Majesty's Bahamian Ship
Bangladesh?? BNSBangladesh Naval Ship
Belgium?? BNSBelgium Naval Ship
CanadaCanadian Forces Maritime Command HMCSHis/Her Majesty's Canadian Ship
DenmarkRoyal Danish Navy HDMS (Danish: KDM)His/Her Danish Majesty's Ship (Danish: Kongelige Danske Marine)
FranceFrench Navy FSFrench Ship (NATO designation)
German EmpireKaiserliche Marine SM U-##Seiner Majestät Unterseeboot
German EmpireKaiserliche Marine SMSSeiner Majestšt Schiff
GermanyBundesmarine FGSFederal German Ship (NATO designation)
Great BritainShips carrying mail RMSRoyal Mail[?] Ship
Great BritainRoyal Fleet Auxiliary RFARoyal Fleet Auxiliary
Great BritainRoyal Navy HMSHis/Her Majesty's Ship
GreeceHellenic Navy HSHellenic Ship (NATO designation)
IndiaIndian Navy (pre-Republic) HMINSHis/Her Majesty's Indian Naval Ship
IndiaIndian Navy INSIndian Naval Ship
IsraelIsraeli Navy INSIsraeli Naval Ship
MalaysiaRoyal Malaysian Navy KDKapal Diraga - His Majesty's Ship
NetherlandsRoyal Netherlands Navy HNLMS (Dutch: Hr.Ms. or Z.Ms.)His/Her Majesty's Netherlands Ship (Dutch: Hare Majesteit's or Zijne Majesteit's)
New ZealandRoyal New Zealand Navy HMNZSHis/Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship
NorwayRoyal Norwegian Navy KNMKongelige Norske Marine
NorwayNorwegian Coast Guard KVKystvakt
PakistanPakistani Navy PNSPakistani Naval Ship
PeruPeruvian Navy BAPBuque Armada Peruana
PhilippinesPhilippine Navy BRPBarka ng Republika ng Pilipinas
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Navy HMSHis Majesty's Ship -- the same as the Royal Navy
SingaporeSingapore Navy RSSRoyal Singapore Ship
South AfricaSouth African Navy SASSouth African Ship
United StatesU.S. Navy USSUnited States Ship
United StatesU.S. Navy Military Sealift Command USNSUnited States Naval Ship
United StatesU.S. Coast Guard USCGCUnited States Coast Guard Cutter
Uruguay?? ROURepublica del Oriental Uruguay

Occasionally writers will prefix a ship's name with an abbreviation of its nationality in their own language, such as "IJN" for Teikoku Nihon Kaigun, but that usage is deprecated.

In the Royal Netherlands Navy, "HNLMS" is the prefix in English, but in Dutch translates to "Hr.Ms." or "Z.Ms.". Thus "Hr.Ms." should never be used in an English document; nevertheless it is often seen on the World Wide Web.

See also the WikiProject Ships.

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