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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
BahamasBahamian Defense Force HMBSHis/Her Majesty's Bahamian Ship
BangladeshBangladesh Navy BNSBangladesh Naval Ship
BarbadosBarbadan Defence Force HMBSHis/Her Majesty's Barbadian Ship
BelgiumBelgian Navy BNSBelgium Naval Ship (NATO prefix)
CanadaCanadian Forces Maritime Command HMCSHis/Her Majesty's Canadian Ship
CanadaCanadian Coast Guard CCGSCanadian Coast Guard Ship
ColombiaArmada Nacional ARCArmada de la Republica de Colombia
DenmarkRoyal Danish Navy HDMS (Danish: KDM)His/Her Danish Majesty's Ship (Danish: Kongelige Danske Marine)
EcuadorMilitary of Ecuador BAEBuque de la Armada de Ecuador
FijiMilitary of Fiji RFNSRepublic of Fiji Naval Ship
FranceFrench Navy FSFrench Ship (NATO designation)
German EmpireKaiserliche Marine SM U-##Seiner Majestät Unterseeboot
German EmpireKaiserliche Marine SMSSeiner Majestät Schiff
GermanyBundesmarine FGSFederal German Ship (NATO designation)
Great BritainShips carrying mail RMSRoyal Mail Steamer
Great BritainRoyal Fleet Auxiliary RFARoyal Fleet Auxiliary
Great BritainRoyal Navy HMSHis/Her Majesty's Ship
Great BritainGovernment research ships RRSRoyal Research Ship
GreeceHellenic Navy HSHellenic Ship (NATO designation)
Guyana?? GDFSGuyanan Defense Forces Ship
IndiaIndian Navy (pre-Republic) HMINSHis/Her Majesty's Indian Naval Ship
IndiaIndian Navy INSIndian Naval Ship
IsraelIsraeli Navy INSIsraeli Naval Ship
JapanImperial Japanese Navy HIJMSHis Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship
Japan (after WWII)Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force JDSJMSDF Defense Ship
Kenya? KNSKenyan Naval Ship
MalaysiaRoyal Malaysian Navy KDKapal Di-Raja - 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
Nigeria? NNSNigerian Naval Ship
NorwayRoyal Norwegian Navy KNMKongelige Norske Marine
NorwayNorwegian Coast Guard KVKystvakt
Oman? SNVSultanate Naval Vessel
PakistanPakistani Navy PNSPakistani Naval Ship
Papua New Guinea? HMPNGSHer Majesty's Papua New Guinea Ship
PeruPeruvian Navy BAPBuque Armada Peruana
PhilippinesPhilippine Navy BRPBarka ng Republika ng Pilipinas
PolandPolish Navy ORPPolish Republic Naval Ship (Polish:
Okręt Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej)
Portugal? NRPPortuguese Republic Ship (Navio da República Portuguesa)
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Navy HMSHis Majesty's Ship -- the same as the Royal Navy
SingaporeRepublic of Singapore Navy RSSRepublic of Singapore Ship
South AfricaSouth African Navy SASSouth African Ship
SpainArmada Espanola SPSSpanish Naval Ship
Sri LankaSri Lanka Navy SLNSSri Lanka Naval Ship
SwedenRoyal Swedish Navy HMSHis Majesty's Ship -- the same as the Royal Navy
ThailandRoyal Thai Navy HTMSHis Thai Majesty's Ship
TurkeyTurkish Navy TCGTürkiye Cumhuriyeti Gemisi
Trinidad & Tobago? TTSTrinidad & Tobago 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
UruguayUruguay Navy 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.

United States ships that have not been commissioned in the Navy yet don't hold the title of USS, it holds the title of PCU (Pre-commissioned unit) For example, the shipyard is building the new aircraft carrier-- The Neversail. For the day the keel is laid to the date it is commissioned, it is called the PCU Neversail. Once it enter active service in the fleet and is commissioned it will be referred to as the USS Neversail. See also the WikiProject Ships.

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