11 Different Types of Ships

Types of Ships

If you plan to work in the shipping industry or enjoy sailing the seas, you should know the various types of ships available.


When you’re out at sea, you may come across a variety of different vessels, and knowing how to recognize them is helpful.

It’s also worth noting that safety requirements differ significantly depending on the sort of ship you’re running.

Furthermore, each sort of vessel has its own set of rigid rules that must be adhered to. In addition, working on each type of ship can also be very different, so doing your research before applying for a position is essential.

Working aboard a fishing vessel, for example, is a very different experience from working on a commercial ship.

However, Experts in the marine sector and experienced sailors will have a strong understanding of the various ship kinds.

If you’re new to the industry, here are some of the most common types of international ships you’ll encounter on your journey.

1. Service Vessels

Service Vessels are some of the various types of vessels. The majority of the service ships are tugs or towing vessels whose primary purpose is to supply propulsion to other ships.  

However, they are primarily used in harbors and inland waters. And they are tiny in size since the only substantial weight they must carry is a propulsion plant and a small amount of gasoline.  

Furthermore, the towing of massive drilling rigs for the petroleum industry and the occasional ocean salvage operation (e.g., towing a disabled ship) necessitate larger and more seaworthy craft than the more common coastal service vessels.

Still, oceangoing tugs and towboats are few in number and small in size compared to cargo ships. 

2. Passenger Ships

Passenger ships, as the name implies, are primarily employed to transport passengers in transit. However, they are mainly divided into the following categories.

Ferries and Cruise Liners.  Ferries are vessels that transport passengers (and sometimes cars) over short distances.

While Cruise ships, which are mainly utilized for leisure purposes, are similar to elegant floating hotels with cutting-edge amenities. 

3. Oil Tankers

Oil tankers are some of the various types of ships. They are specially designed tank ships that transport crude oil.  

However, certain technological qualities distinguish tankers from cargo ships, such as oil leak-tightness, structural resistance, and the fuel loading and unloading pumping system.

Because these ships are so enormous, they must berth on the open seas. They can hold two million barrels of oil. 

4. Gas Carriers

They are sometimes lumped in with oil tankers. But they have more advanced technology for storing liquefied gas, becoming increasingly common.

In broad strokes, they can be divided into LNG, used to store liquid natural gas, and LPG, used to store liquid petroleum gas.  

Furthermore, the fundamental distinction is technical: LNG transports gas at temperatures up to -170°C, while LPG transports gas at -50°C and a pressure of 18 kg/cm2. With their huge spherical tanks on deck, LNG ships stand out.

Additionally, Chemical cargo ships, on the other hand, have many tanks to keep the various compounds they transport from combining. 

5. Cargo Ships

Cargo ships are also different types of ships. These ships are typically used to move cargo from one location to another safely.

They will have a multi-deck or single-deck hull on their boat. There are thousands of cargo ships on the move around the world, transporting merchandise across the globe.

They are vital to international trade. Food, furniture, metals, clothing, and machinery can all be transported by cargo ships. 

6. Fishing vessels

Fishing vessels are ships or boats that are used for recreational or commercial fishing at sea. Trawlers and non-trawling vessels are the two primary types of fishing vessels.  

Furthermore, Trawlers, also known as draggers, are commercial fishing vessels intended to run fishing trawls.

However, Trawling is a type of fishing in which a trawl is actively dragged or pulled across the water by one or more trawlers.  

Additionally, A purse seine is a massive netting wall surrounding a vast region or school of fish.

However, the top line of the seine has floats, while the bottom line has a lead line threaded through rings.

Once a school of fish has been identified, a boat with a net encircles the school. 

While A factory ship, also known as a fish processing vessel, is a sizeable oceangoing vessel with substantial onboard processing and freezing capabilities for catching fish or whales. 

7. RoRo (Roll on Roll off)

A Roll Roll the ship is used to transport most cars across international waterways.

The fact that driving a vehicle onto the boat is safer and faster than employing a crane is one of the reasons this ship is so famous for transporting autos.  

Once on board, the cars are secured to the ship’s deck to prevent them from rolling about while at sea. 

8. Cruise Ship

Cruise ships are descended from transatlantic ocean liners, which have seen their services supplanted by jet aircraft since the mid-twentieth century.  

Even into the 1990s, some cruise ships were 1950s and 1960s ocean liners adapted to tropical cruising through purely cosmetic changes.

For example, the inclusion of swimming pools and other amenities to suit warm-latitude cruising. 

In addition, the majority of cruise ships in operation today, however, were built mainly for the cruise industry after 1970.  

Because they are made to carry vast passengers (perhaps thousands), they have towering superstructures with multiple decks, and their main routes are in warm seas.

They are often painted white all over. Furthermore, it has a “wedding cake” appearance that can be seen from a long distance.

Additionally, A closer look usually reveals a considerable number of motor launches onboard for ferrying passengers ashore.  

However, many cruise ships include stern ramps, similar to those found on cargo-carrying roll-on/roll-off ships, to let passengers get to the launches and function as docking facilities. 

9. Miscellaneous Ships

The term “miscellaneous” has a limited meaning in this context. It’s meant to include classifications like icebreakers and research vessels, which the government frequently owns.

Because no goods are to be transported, neither type has to be substantial. On the other hand, icebreakers are typically large to cut a wide swath through ice and have the solid propulsive force to overcome the resistance of the ice layer.

Furthermore, Icebreakers also have steeply sloping bow profiles, particularly near the waterline, to allow them to wedge themselves up onto thick ice and crack it from the static weight.

The ship’s waterline must be reinforced with layers of armor and braced by massive stiffeners to protect the hull from damage.

10. High-Speed Craft

High-speed craft is one of the various types of ships. They are a subset of high-performance (usually high-speed) maritime vehicles with modern technology.  

Although most of these technologies aren’t employed on commercial vessels, a handful has been successfully deployed and tested on small-scale commerce ships.  

Furthermore, the following are some of the most common high-speed craft: Wave piercers are included in multihulls.

Ground Craft with a small waterplane area, twin-hull (SWATH) Surface effect ship (SES), and Hovercraft Hydrofoil Wing (WIG) 

11. Dredgers

Dredgers are also types of ships. Dredging is a type of excavation that takes place underwater, in shallow oceans or freshwater environments, to collect bottom sediments and enlarge the channel.  

Furthermore, Dredgers are vessels equipped with excavation tools used to remove sand and other sediments from the bottom.

Dredgers are employed for various tasks, including making shallow coastal areas navigable, deep-sea mining, etc.

There are two classifications of dredgers which are Mechanical and hydraulic dredgers. 

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