Different Types of Ships Based on Size, Use and Specialty

Ships are the traditional form of transport to carry goods, and passengers from one place to another. But there are many types of ships that are using for various purposes you don`t even know. let`s take a look at this checklist and get to know each type and its use. 

Category: Travel     Written By: Eva William

Different Types of Ships Based on Size, Use and Specialty

Ships being the most ancient transportation have evolved like no other. The transformation has been to such extent that ship in itself is now a generic term.

You will be amazed to know the different types of ships using in the world today for different purposes depending on their ownership, purpose, capacity, voyage length, commercial or passenger use, functionality, kind of cargo, etc. Describing all types of ships together would take voy-ages!

Here is the quick guide for you that will cover the different varieties as broad categories. 

Different Types of Ships

Ships used for Transport Of Cargo

1.    Bulk Carriers 
bulk carriers

 These ships are designed for carrying cargo that is of great commercial value such as coal, and ore. Colliers is the term for ships carrying coal. Term bulk is used to refer to lack of containers and instead of loading the ship`s body itself with the cargo. Each segment has a separate loading and unloading system and a hatch to protect the cargo.

2.    Breakbulk Vessels 
break bulk vessel

 At times to maximize the profit by transporting a more considerable amount of cargo, the crew uses bags to pack it. Instead of containers or hatches, the cargo is organized in bags that take smaller space. Breaking the bulk into smaller portions eases the work of the crew at the destination port.

3.    Dry Bulk Carriers 
dry bulk carriers

 Dry cargo ships that don`t require special containers and can switch the kind of cargo are still in use. Earlier all trade ships used to be general cargo vessels. They have now been widely replaced by container vessels. However, for some liners or lake freighters, they continue to be in use.

4.    Tankers 

 Liquid or Gas Carrier ships are Tankers. They include huge crude carriers VLCC and chemical ships. Latest ships for carrying liquid cargo include the liquefied gas tankers.

5.    General Cargo Vessels 
general cargo vessel

 The tramp trade of ships require a constant change in the type of cargo dispatched. General cargo vessels are not specific in their design. So, they fit best for tramp trade, being flexible.

6.    Container Ships
container ships

 Large vessels are loaded with containers holding cargo packaged using advanced mechanical process. The size of the containers loaded is 20-40 feet long. Each of them has the same size allowing stacking. Product carriers are mostly container ships.

7.    Reefer

 Food and perishable cargo require temperature control. Reefer from refrigerating, are ships equipped with cooling gear. The design is such that the crew members can personally check the state of cargo during the voyage.

8.    Barge or Lighter Aboard Ship LASH
barge ship

 Meeting the newer demands, the barge carrying ships transport an afloat container. The cargo case is itself capable of floating. Thus a barge may not be self-propelled and needs another ship to move it.

9.    Heavy Lift Ship 
heavy lift ship

 Certain project ships or special cargo ships transport weighty items. These ships are slightly submersible to load the cargo or have massive cranes to be able to unload the cargo at the destination port.

Types of Ships for Passengers or Belongings

10.    Ferries – 

Smaller Ships meant for travelers over comparatively shorter distance are ferries. They are not extensively equipped or gigantic. Ferries can be for lake or canal transport or for to and fro between proximate islands.

11. Catamaran or High-Speed Crafts – 
high speed craft

 Vessels that move at a relatively faster pace are used for short runs. They have a hydrodynamic design to be able to move at a rapid speed between two spots.

12. Ro-Ro Vessels –
ro ro vessels

  Roll on Roll off Ships are for vehicles are other automobiles that can be unloaded at the port by driving. The design is like a massive container with ramps and huge doors. At a time a Ro-Ro ship can transport 6000 automobiles.

13. Cruises –

For leisure travel and other travel, experiences Cruises have gained a lot of popularity amongst people. In past years, cruise travel has become a global trend. The ships have exquisite interiors and facilities for their passengers.

Special Purpose Ships

14. Support Vessel – 
support vessel

 Ships are needed for other ships anchorage and seismic detection. The support ships operate over a short distance but are more equipped and advanced. Size of such support ships is smaller than the barge or container vessels.

15. Tugs – 
tug ship

 Towing Ships have massive pulling power. These ships can propel a barge between two ports. Other functions of such tugs include bringing a damaged ship to closest shore. Tugs are of great importance to the maritime industry.

16. Cruiser, Warship or Government Ship – 
cruiser war ship

 Defense ships, oceanographic, coast guard, aircraft ships and other government-owned marine transportation also come in our list. The different types of warships form another long list. Mine Cleaner ships and nonprofit ships also come under this category.

17. Offshore – 
offshore ship

 Ships designed for carrying out various operations at an oil well are offshore. The body of the ship is lifted up and has drilling rigs, cranes and instruments for exploration of sea oil resources.

18. Ice Breaker Ships – 
ice breaker ship

 With a steep slope, these ships are meant for cutting down the frozen waterways. Some support ships are also equipped with the ice breaker functions.

19. Livestock Ships – 
livestock ship

 Ships meant for transport of animals or other livestock have a design to cater to needs. The cleaning of such ships is particularly essential to prevent the spread of infections and diseases amongst the livestock.

20. Hopper Barge or Dumping Ship – 
dumping ship

 Vessels for dumping trash into the ocean or for land reclamation are hopper barges. Dumping ships are not self-propelled and carry the garbage or sand in a non-elaborate design.

21. Academic Research Ships – 
 academic research

Such ships are specially designed for particular exploration. They are fitted with the instruments needed for the research purpose. There can be a submersible unit that allows the researchers to explore the deeper waters.

22. Industrial Ship – 

 industrial ship

Fish processing ships are an example. The caught fish is shred and canned in the boat itself. So, the ship serves to transport and processing functions. Such processor ships are standard in the fishing industry. 

23. Fishing Vessels – 
fishing vessel ship

 Leaving past the old fashioned fishing, modern fishing vessels are specific to the fish being caught. Trawlers and crabbers are examples of fishing vessels.

24. Training Ships – 

 training ship

Ships for educational purposes for different maritime careers exist. Mimicking the real conditions at sea and other methods are used to teach and prepare newer personnel. They can be private or government owned.

25. Hospital Ships – 

 hospital ship

Innumerable deaths at sea are still documented. Hospital ships can be employed for support at sea or for sending aid to disaster or calamity struck area.

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