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large craft in which persons and goods may be conveyed on water. In the U.S. Navy the term boat refers to any vessel that is small enough to be hoisted aboard a ship, and ship is used for any larger vessel; all submarines, no matter what size, are designated as boats, and ship-sized vessels are often referred to colloquially as boats (e.g. steamboats).

Seagoing vessels large enough to be called ships were used in ancient times by the Egyptians, Cretans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, and Chinese. Ancient ships were propelled by oars or by sails or by both. They were of different types for different functions. Heavy, slow ships with round bottoms were used to transport grain, while slim-keeled ships such as the trireme were used for warfare (see galleygalley,
long, narrow vessel widely used in ancient and medieval times, propelled principally by oars but also fitted with sails. The earliest type was sometimes 150 ft (46 m) long with 50 oars.
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). In the Middle Ages Viking ships, propelled by both oars and sails, carried Leif Eriksson to America; their structure is well known from such evidences as the Gokstad ship (unearthed in 1880), which is 80 ft (24.4 m) long, 16 ft 6 in. (5 m) wide, and 6 ft 10 in. (2.1 m) deep.

The introduction of the mariner's compass, the sternpost rudder, and the lateen sail made possible the transoceanic voyages of the Portuguese who rounded Africa and of Columbus and other explorers of the New World, giving new impetus to the building and navigation of ships. Many sturdy and refined types of wooden sailing vessels up to three hundred feet in length were developed. Men-of-war included the ship of the lineship of the line,
large, square-rigged warship, carrying from 70 to 140 guns on two or more completely armed gun decks. In the great naval wars of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th cent., ships of the line were the largest naval units employed.
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, the frigatefrigate
, originally a long, narrow nautical vessel used on the Mediterranean, propelled by either oars or sail or both. Later, during the 18th and early 19th cent., the term was applied to a very fast, square-rigged sailing vessel carrying 24 to 44 guns on a single flush gun
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, and the corvettecorvette,
small warship, classed between a frigate and a sloop-of-war. Corvettes usually were flush-decked and carried fewer than 28 guns. They were widely employed in escorting convoys and attacking merchant ships during the great naval wars of the late 18th and early 19th cent.
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. Differing especially in such details as number and position of masts, with sails either square-rigged or fore-and-aft, ships were differentiated into such types as brigbrig,
two-masted sailing vessel, square-rigged on both masts. Brigs have been used as cargo ships and also, in the past, as small warships carrying about 10 guns. They vary in length between 75 and 130 ft (23–40 m), with tonnages up to 350.
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, clipperclipper,
type of sailing ship, designed for speed. Long and narrow, the clipper had the greatest beam aft of the center; the bow cleaved the waves; and the ship carried, besides topgallant and royal sails, skysails and moonrakers—a veritable cloud of sails.
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, and schoonerschooner
, sailing vessel, rigged fore-and-aft, with from two to seven masts. Schooners can lie closer to the wind than square-rigged sailing ships, need a smaller crew, and are very fast.
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. Building wooden ships became an important industry, especially in Britain and the United States.

The success of Fulton's Clermont on the Hudson River (1807) prepared the way for the superseding of sailing ships by steamships (see steamshipsteamship,
watercraft propelled by a steam engine or a steam turbine. Early Steam-powered Ships

Marquis Claude de Jouffroy d'Abbans is generally credited with the first experimentally successful application of steam power to navigation; in 1783 his Pyroscaphe
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), and later in the 19th cent. steel began to replace wood as material for shipbuilding. Steel ships can be made much larger than wooden ships. The steam engine was followed by the steam turbineturbine,
rotary engine that uses a continuous stream of fluid (gas or liquid) to turn a shaft that can drive machinery.

A water, or hydraulic, turbine is used to drive electric generators in hydroelectric power stations.
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, which actuated the propeller directly or through gear mechanisms. Both methods of power production underwent many improvements through the years before the diesel enginediesel engine,
type of internal-combustion engine invented by the German engineer Rudolf Diesel and patented by him in 1892. Although his engine was designed to use coal dust as fuel, the diesel engine now burns fuel oil.
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 came (1902–3) into maritime use. In some ships, diesel engines are now used to generate electricity, which is used to power propeller motors. In the 1950s nuclear power was introduced in military vessels and icebreakers; modern nuclear submarines can travel submerged for months at a time (see nuclear energynuclear energy,
the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom and released through fission, fusion, or radioactivity. In these processes a small amount of mass is converted to energy according to the relationship E = mc2, where E is energy, m
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Modern freight ships are equipped with powerful machines for handling cargo; and, although jet transportation led to the demise of the great ocean liners, cruise ships continue to be built, providing the luxuries of the finest hotels. The pivotal vessels of modern warfare are the aircraft carrieraircraft carrier,
ship designed to carry aircraft and to permit takeoff and landing of planes. The carrier's distinctive features are a upper deck (flight deck) that is flat and sometimes sloped to function as a takeoff and landing field, and a main deck (hangar deck) beneath
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 and the submarinesubmarine,
naval craft capable of operating for an extended period of time underwater. Submarines are almost always warships, although a few are used for scientific, business, or other purposes (see also submersible).
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; other warships important in recent times include the battleshipbattleship,
large, armored warship equipped with the heaviest naval guns. The evolution of the battleship, from the ironclad warship of the mid-19th cent., received great impetus from the Civil War.
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, cruisercruiser,
large, fast, moderately armed warship, intermediate in type between the aircraft carrier and the destroyer. During World War II, battle cruisers operated as small battleships, combining in one vessel maximum qualities of gun caliber, armor protection, and speed.
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, and destroyerdestroyer,
class of warship very fast relative to its length, generally equipped with torpedos, antisubmarine equipment, and medium-caliber and antiaircraft guns. The newest destroyers are equipped with guided missiles as their chief offensive weapon.
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See H. B. Mason, Encyclopedia of Ships and Shipping (1977); G. Blackburn, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, and Vessels (1982); K. J. Rawson and E. C. Tupper, Basic Ship Theory (1983); A. Kludas, Great Passenger Ships of the World (5 vol., 1986–87); Jane's Fighting Ships (pub. annually since 1897).



(Russian, korahl’; from Greek karabos), another word for vessel (sudno). In the days of sailing ships, the term referred to a three-masted vessel with full sailing rigging. In modern Russian, the term korabl’ is used to refer to warships of all classes. Large airplanes and dirigibles are called airships (vozdushnye korabli); a spacecraft (kosmicheskii korabl’) is a manned vehicle for flights in outer space.



a floating structure designed for specific commercial or military tasks, scientific research, water sports, or other uses.

Classification. The following types of ships are distinguished according to purpose: transport ships, commercial fishing vessels, industrial vessels, administrative and service ships, naval vessels, scientific research vessels, and auxiliary vessels.

Transport ships are subdivided into freighters, passenger ships, and freight-passenger ships. Commercial fishing vessels are classified as commercial fishing vessels proper (for taking fish, whales, crabs, algae, and the like), fishing-processing ships (such as trawler-factory ships and freezer-trawlers), and fishing support vessels. Industrial vessels include industrial extraction ships (ore-and petroleum-extracting ships, dredges and salt-extracting rigs), hoist-assembly vessels (port-construction ships and floating cranes), bottom-deepening dredges (bucket and suction dredges and soil-hauling ships), logging industry ships (rafts and ships for floating timber), agricultural vessels (for irrigation and pumping water), power-supply vessels (floating power plants, compressor ships, and transformer ships), communications ships (cable-layers, cable-repair ships, and radio communications ships), and ships for decontaminating bodies of water (such as ships used in cleaning up oil spills and in collecting trash).

Administrative and service ships include inspection ships (for supervision of fishing and protecting preserves), militia ships, border-guard ships, customs ships, and governmental yachts. Naval vessels are subdivided into warships, naval transports, and support ships. Scientific research vessels include ships for integrated marine research and for special research (geophysical, hydrobiological, and other studies).

Auxiliary vessels include tugboats, loading vessels (for example, floating grain loaders, petroleum loaders, and cleaning stations), supply and receiving ships (coalers, water carriers, and ships for receiving contaminated water and trash), dock vessels (landing stages), icebreakers (for sea-lanes and port areas), navigation ships (hydrographic vessels and lightships), rescue ships, repair ships (floating shops, docks, and degasification stations), packets and pilot boats, and training ships.

A separate category comprises sports boats, medical-service ships (hospital and disinfection ships), ships that function as houses of rest, housing and storage ships (floating dormitories, hotels, and warehouses), and cultural-educational vessels (museum ships, exhibition ships, and club ships).

Ships may also be classified according to their area of operation: oceangoing ships, ships for inland waterways, and ships for mixed operations. Oceangoing ships may have unlimited or limited ranges, with established operating areas or permissible distances from shore or home ports. For oceangoing ships, the permissible areas of operation and the ability to operate in ice conditions—with or without accompaniment by icebreakers—are determined by the ship’s ice reinforcement. Oceangoing ships are classified according to design type: vessels with full framing that can hold cargo up to the waterline corresponding to the minimum freeboard and vessels with excess freeboard; a variation of the latter type is the shelter-deck ship. Ships for operation on inland waterways may be designed specifically for small rivers, large rivers, reservoirs, or large lakes and ocean inlets. Ships for mixed (ocean and inland) operations combine the hull strength and seaworthiness necessary for oceangoing vessels with the shallow draft of ships designed for inland waterways.

Ships may be self-propelled by mechanical engines, sails, or oars or dumb (not self-propelled, or towed). Power plants used in self-propelled ships include nuclear power plants, diesel engines, steam turbines, gas turbines, and steam engines; self-propelled ships may also use screw propellers driven by an electric motor.

Ships are also classified according to their motion in the water as conventional displacement ships, hydroplanes, hydrofoils, and marine ground-effect machines. Ships capable of operating underwater are called submersibles or submarines; all others are surface vessels.

History. The need to cross water obstacles and to use rivers, lakes, and seas as fishing and hunting grounds and convenient routes for travel and shipping goods arose in antiquity. Tree trunks and other floating objects were initially used as means of water travel. Primitive rafts made of tree trunks or fragments secured to one another may be considered the first ships. The bound trees did not turn over in the water, and they could be used for sailing safely for considerable distances. Catamarans made from logs are still used in many countries today. For thousands of years rafts made of reeds and papyrus were used on Lakes Titicaca and Chad and in ancient Egypt. In Assyria inflated sacks made of animal skins were used to cross water; such crafts are still used in the 20th century, for example, in Dalmatia, Yugoslavia.

Boats built from tree trunks hollowed out or burned out on the inside and trimmed on the outside date from Stone Age dugout canoes. Light, maneuverable canoes made of bark laid on a frame (the best known are the birchbarks of the North American Indians) or hides stretched on a frame (for example, the Aleutian kayaks) have been used in northern lands since ancient times. Round boats—baskets covered with skins or pitch on the outside—were known in Mesopotamia in the eighth century B.C.; such vessels could carry up to 100 tons. In East Bengal large round boats were made from fired clay.

The continuing development of navigation demanded larger ships. One or several rows of planks were fixed to the sides of dugouts to protect against waves and increase capacity; certain early ships of Eastern Europe were built in this way, such as the caulked boats of the fourth century, nasady (11th century), cossack chaiki (16th century), and Astrakhan budarki (19th century). However, only with the advent of ships constructed from wooden parts with a separate skeleton, or framing, and a shell was it possible to design larger ships. The new design made it possible to change the shape of the hull and the ratios of the ship’s dimensions, thus improving seaworthiness. In the third millennium B.C., the Egyptians built ships from pieces of wood that were fitted together, caulked, and covered with pitch along the seams, thus forming the shell and framing.

In the tenth century B.C., the ships of the Phoenicians exhibited the primary elements of modern ship design—keel, frames, posts, and external planking. Interior wooden timbering obviated the need for the tension structures conventional on Egyptian vessels, which consisted of ropes and beams secured above the deck and along the sides. The planking of the Phoenician ships was made of boards, initially hewn and later sawed. The individual parts of the planking and wooden framing were secured by wooden nails and pins; copper and iron brackets and nails were later used.

The first ships traveled with the current or were propelled by simple devices—poles or oars. The use of sails—made from hides, reed mats, or wooden planks—dates from the third millennium B.C. For a long time sails played a subsidiary role, since they were put up only with a favoring wind; when there was no wind, ships traveled and maneuvered by means of oars. The oars on rowing vessels were arranged in one, two, and three banks along the entire length of the ship, as on the Roman uniremes, biremes, and triremes; each oar was operated by up to ten oarsmen. General-purpose rowing vessels called galleys appeared in the seventh century, followed, in the 16th century, by the larger galleasses, which already made significant use of sails. Narrow, maneuverable rowing vessels were still used in the 18th century, primarily as naval vessels (see and ROWING FLEET).

The sail was a more efficient propelling device for wide, capacious cargo vessels. Pure sailing vessels appeared in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, and China between the tenth and the 13th centuries. With the development of techniques for controlling sails and tacking, ships became capable of traveling against the wind by means of changes in tack. Broad steering oars on one or both sides of the ship or a single steering oar in the stern where the rudder was later mounted were used to control both rowing and sailing ships. Beginning in the 12th and 13th centuries, twomasted vessels with triangular sails, caravelles, and other oceangoing vessels were built in Western Europe. The sailing ship reached its zenith in the second half of the 19th century. The typical sailing ship had a length of 90 m, a width of 15–17 m, a cargo capacity of 5,000 tons, and a speed of 33 km/hr (seeSAILING FLEET).

The Phoenicians covered the sections of the hull below the waterline with lead plates for protection; thin copper plates were used beginning in the early 18th century. Iron was first proposed as a replacement for wood in shipbuilding in the mid-17th century, but it was only in 1787 that the Englishman J. Wilkinson built the first iron ship, with a length of 21.5 m. In the second half of the 19th century, iron as a shipbuilding material gave way to the stronger steel. Building ship hulls entirely of metal made it possible to increase the strength and reduce the weight relative to displacement. Safety was increased by dividing the hulls of large steel ships into watertight compartments and by building double bottoms. The change from riveting to welding further increased the strength, reliability, and life of ships.

Attempts were made in the 18th century to harness steam for ship propulsion. The Clermont, the first wooden river steamship with a steam engine as the main engine and paddle wheels along the sides, was built by R. Fulton in the USA in 1807. In Russia the wooden steamship Elizaveta began regular runs between Kronstadt and St. Petersburg in 1815. The iron paddle steamer Vulcan was launched in 1818 in Great Britain. In the first half of the 19th century, screw propellers were installed on oceangoing steamships; they proved much more effective than paddle wheels in heavy seas. At the turn of the 20th century, steam turbines came into use as marine engines (the Turbinia was built in Great Britain in 1894), as did internal-combustion engines (the diesel-electric ship Vandal was launched in Russia in 1903). By the mid-20th century, ships with nuclear power plants had appeared.

Layout and types. The most important characteristics of a ship are its performance specifications, which give a numerical expression of operating characteristics: speed, cruising areas and range, self-sufficiency, power available per worker, level of automation, reliability, ease of repair, and habitability; additional performance specifications for transport ships include maximum cargo weight, net tonnage for cargo and passengers, register tonnage, and suitability for cargo operations (for freighters). The specific properties of ships as floating structures include buoyancy, stability, pitch and roll, speed, maneuverability, and unsinkability. Consideration of these features in the building of a ship involves scientific research and design work—studies of operating requirements, designing, and model testing.

Disciplines used in building a ship include ship design theory, the theory of naval architecture, the structural mechanics of ships, the theory of marine machinery, shipbuilding engineering, the economics of shipbuilding, and the current rules of shipbuilding as defined by classification societies. The designing and construction of a new ship take several years.

The most important operating characteristics of a ship are determined by the ship’s principal dimensions (length, beam, height of the sides at the midpoint of the length), deadweight, displacement, type and power of the main engines, and tonnage. A self-propelled ship consists of a hull with superstructures and deckhouses, ship’s gears, devices, appliances, and systems, power plant and propellers, navigation equipment, and communications equipment. The hull of the ship is divided by the decks and by transverse and longitudinal bulkheads into compartments in which the power plant, holds, and between decks are located. On oceangoing ships the space between the inner and outer skins of the hull is used for storage of fuel and fresh water and for water ballast. Ship hulls are made of steel, light alloys, wood, reinforced concrete, plastics, and other materials. The superstructures and deckhouses are situated on the top deck and contain quarters for crew and passengers and public and service areas.

The deckhouses—pilothouse, chart house, and radio room—contain the navigation, communications, and signaling and control equipment, which ensure safe navigation, allow determination of the ship’s position, and maintain communication with shore.

The exterior shape and fundamental layout of a ship determine the ship’s design type, which is specifically characterized by the shape of the bow and stern lines, the dimensions and location of superstructures and deckhouses, the longitudinal camber of the top deck (sheer), the location of the power plant, the number of decks and holds, and the number and size of cargo hatches and side, bow, and stern ports.

The ship’s systems and equipment ensure safe operation of the ship, preservation of cargo, and comfortable conditions for the crew and passengers. The power plant consists of main and auxiliary mechanisms and equipment and is designed to provide propulsion and supply electricity, steam, water, and compressed air for the ship’s systems. Diesel power plants are most common. Automated power plants operate without a constant watch in the machine room; control and monitoring of engine operation are performed by remote control, including remote control from the pilothouse. The principal type of propelling device used on ships is the screw propeller.

Ships designed today are marked by two design trends: toward vessels of general-purpose capabilities and specialized ships. Specialization of transport ships, for example, is determined not only by the type of cargo but also by loading technology. For example, in order to eliminate manual labor, reduce cargo-handling time, and provide convenient arrangement of cargo, ships are built with large hold openings and may or may not have their own loading equipment. General-purpose ships are built with one to three cargo hatches as wide as the ship and with cranes that have capacities of approximately 25–30 tons. Ships for transporting standard-size bales or containers have become common, for example, container ships and trailerships. A fundamentally new type of transport ship is the lighter carrier, designed to transport

Table 1. Specifications of basic types of ships
ShipFlagTypeDisplacement (fans)Cargo capacityMaximum cargo weight (tons)Principal dimensionsPower plantSpeed (km/hr
      Length (m)Beam (m)Height of sides (m)Draft (m)TypePower (MW) 
Dry-cargo freighters            
50 let Sovetskoi vlastiUSSROcean-river freighter4,1004,297 m32,700110.5135.53.5Diesel0.9719.8
Volgo-DonUSSRDry-cargo river vessel6,7556,370 m35,30013516.55.53.5Diesel1.4721
SakhalinUSSROceangoing railroad ferry7,74026 freight cars2,000116.419.58.86.2Diesel-electric11.4730.5
Nikolai KopernikUSSROceangoing refrigerator ship10,7108,160 m34,165139.81811.57.8Diesel9.7237
PerekopUSSRGeneral-purpose dry-cargo freighter18,03018,200 m311,68014020.612.39.1Diesel5.5128.7
Nikolai NovikovUSSROceangoing timber and bale carrier19,73017,210 m39,5801402111.68.5Diesel7.0628.3
Grigorii AlekseevUSSROceangoing wood-chip carrier23,30040,000 m315,70015824.616.47.9Diesel6.127.8
Atlantic SagaSwedenOceangoing roll-on, roll-off ship27,60045,760 m314,00018327.4319.39.04Diesel14.5738.4
Sea-Land McLeanUSAOceangoing container ship50,5501,940 containers 6.1 m long16,140267.632.220.910.4Steam-turbine88.261.1
Acadia ForestUSAOceangoing lighter carrier60,00083 lighters28,00023432.518.311.25Diesel1937
Zoia Kosmodem’ianskaiaUSSROceangoing bulk carrier62,85062,900 m347,24020131.816.811.7Diesel11.1727.6
Volgo-neft’USSRRiver tanker6,4005,300128.616.55.53.52Diesel1.4719.5
Marshal BudennyiUSSROceangoing bulk carrier-tanker127,260102,375 m399,65023638.72216Diesel1727.8
KrymUSSROceangoing tanker181,200183,000 m3143,5002774525.417Steam-turbine22.0531.5
Globtik TokyoGreat BritainOceangoing tanker555,000585,000 m3483,600360623628Steam-turbine33.128.9
Passenger ships            
ChaikaUSSROceangoing ground-effect passenger ship39.380 passengers23.562.21.13/0.6Diesel0.8855.5
KometaUSSROceangoing passenger hydrofoil58.3118 passengers35.
Sovetskii SoiuzUSSRRiver passenger ship2,385468 cabin passengers1,20011612.452.3Diesel1.9826
Song of NorwayNorwayCruise ship11,800870 cabin passengers137.32414.26.3Diesel13.238.9
BelorussiiaUSSROceangoing vehicle and passenger ferry15,100500 passengers and 250 passenger cars60013421.816.36.5Diesel13.2538.9
Ivan FrankoUSSROceangoing passenger ship19,600750 cabin passengers1,83715523.613.58.47Diesel15.437.6
Miscellaneous types            
SeverUSSRCommercial trawler2,5201,040 m34356413.18.25.0Dieselel-ectric2.124.6
Bogatyr’USSROceangoing self-propelled Floating crane3,19530054.725.24.52.78Diesel1.410.2
Professor ShchegolevUSSRTraining ship10,000176 cadets5,700112177.36Diesel3.6827.8
Akademik Sergei KorolevUSSRScientific research vessel21,4651672513.27.9Diesel8.8332.4
ArktikaUSSRPolar icebreaker23,4401362817.211Nuclear55.133.3

lighters. Lighter carriers consist of a floating container with a single hold having a capacity up to 1,000 tons. They have one or three decks, a double bottom, and powerful cargo hoists. The largest dry-cargo vessels are those designed to transport bulk cargo. They include general-purpose bulk carriers and narrowly specialized ore carriers, cement ships, and coal carriers. Bulk liquids, such as petroleum, liquid fuel, lubricants, and liquefied gas, are transported in tankers, which include the world’s largest ships.

Composite vessels are used to transport bulk cargo, timber, petroleum, and other goods in coastal and ocean shipping. They have cargo capacities of 5,000–50,000 tons, speeds up to 30 km/-hr, and main engines with power ratings up to 10 megawatts. A composite vessel includes a cargo section, a power section, and a rigid or flexible connecting unit. The cargo section is a dumb barge with anchor gear, mooring fittings, and, occasionally, cargo-handling equipment and ballast-drain pumps; the equipment is operated by remote control from the power section.

Until the mid-20th century, passenger ships played a major role in carrying passengers over long distances, for example, from Western Europe to Australia. Today they are used primarily for extended tourist cruises, short excursions, and local traffic. Tourist ships are comfortable and, usually, large ships designed to accommodate several hundred passengers. Ships used for local traffic are capable of higher speeds; many of them are hydrofoils and marine ground-effect machines.

The cargo-carrying capabilities of ships are being improved principally through higher maximum cargo weights and higher speeds; this improvement, however, is contingent on speeding up the processing of ships in ports and the lowering of specific operating costs. The greatest increases in maximum cargo weights are seen in ships designed to transport bulk cargoes, such as petroleum, liquefied gas, ores, and fertilizers. Increases in the dimensions of tankers and bulk carriers are limited by water depths in ports, channels, and straits. Power expenditures are being decreased by improving the lines of ships, refining propeller-rudder aggregates, and improving power plants. The very rapid increases in the productivity of cargo-handling operations are a result of significant increases in the maximum cargo weights and speeds of container ships, lighter carriers, and roll-on, roll-off ships. By the 1970’s, the speeds of conventional displacement ships had nearly reached their theoretical limits. Hydrofoils and marine ground-effect machines offer the best prospects for increasing speeds—to 100–200 km/hr. Specifications for several basic types of ships are given in Table 1.


Riabchikov, P. A. Morskie suda. Moscow, 1959.
Shershov, A. P. K islorii voennogo korablestroeniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
Legal questions. The principle of freedom of navigation on the high seas is established in modern international law. Every ship must sail under the flag of some state, which confirms the ship’s nationality and shows to which state’s laws the ship is subject. Conditions for granting the right to operate under a flag, ship registration, and other procedural matters are established by national legislation in each country.
Soviet legislation views a ship as an appropriately organized and controlled production unit, that is, a group of people led by the captain. All Soviet ships are owned by the state or by kolkhozes or other public organizations. Privately owned ships, for example, pleasure boats, may not exceed 10 register tons.
No attachment or execution, even by court order, may be carried out on a ship owned by the state without the consent of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. All Soviet ships sail under the flag of the USSR. Before sailing, they must be registered with the Registry of Shipping of the USSR and assigned to a definite maritime commercial or fishing port. Each ship must have ship documents: certificate of size, certificate of ownership, certificate of the right to sail under the Soviet flag, certificate of seaworthiness, and others. The list of documents is determined by several international conventions to which the USSR is a signatory. The Registry of Shipping of the USSR assigns every ship to a certain class, which is confirmed by a special certificate of class.
While on the high seas and in the territorial waters and ports of foreign states, ships sailing under the flag of the USSR are considered USSR territory and enjoy immunity as the property of the Soviet state. According to the principles of current international law, they cannot be subjected to sequestration, attachment, or detention without the consent of the USSR (seeIMMUNITY OF THE STATE FROM FOREIGN JURISDICTION AND MARITIMELAW).

What does it mean when you dream about a ship?

Large bodies of water are natural symbols of both the unconscious and the emotions. Thus, a ship may represent a vessel of the self moving through the dreamer’s emotions or unconscious. Many other interpretations are possible, depending on whether the ship is large and secure or small and fragile, whether the body of water is smooth and peaceful or disturbed and dangerous, and so on. Naturally, if the dreamer is a sailor, an engineer, or someone else for whom ships are part of daily life, the ship would probably have a more mundane meaning as simply the stage setting for his or her everyday activities.


(naval architecture)
Any large vessel which travels over the seas, rivers, or lakes.




1. a vessel propelled by engines or sails for navigating on the water, esp a large vessel that cannot be carried aboard another, as distinguished from a boat
2. Nautical a large sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts
3. the crew of a ship
4. short for airship, spaceship


As mentioned in all relevant dream symbols, bodies of water represent your unconscious, your emotions, and your accumulated soul experiences. The ship in your dream could represent you and the ways in which you navigate thought these parts of yourself. When interpreting this dream, consider the kind of voyage and the type of ship. Some dream interpretation books say that if the voyage is calm you should go forward with your plans. However, if it is a very stormy voyage, get ready for an emotional upset (or challenge).
References in classic literature ?
Harry Macey, Ship Jeroboam; --why it's Macey, and he's dead
And every once in a while, when the top of her head got too hot, she would dive under the ship and come up on the other side.
After a little time he was aroused; he awoke and, rubbing his eyes, saw a ready-made ship at his side, and at once got into it.
Heaven sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got nine goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill, and we had plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out.
Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the Achaeans.
They were on board of their own ship, and entitled to consult their ease and enjoyment.
Whereupon Sir Richard "was persuaded," Sir Walter says, "by the Master and others to cut his main-sail, and cast about, and to trust to the sailing of the ship.
I fell back on a question which had been in my thoughts for a long time--the most natural ques- tion on the lips of any seaman whatever joining a ship.
The breakers flung out of the night with a ghostly light on their crests -- the light of sea-foam that in a ferocious, boiling-up pale flash showed upon the slender body of the ship the toppling rush, the downfall, and the seething mad scurry of each wave.
But being one day at Hull, where I went casually, and without any purpose of making an elopement at that time; but, I say, being there, and one of my companions being about to sail to London in his father's ship, and prompting me to go with them with the common allurement of seafaring men, that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I consulted neither father nor mother any more, nor so much as sent them word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God's blessing or my father's, without any consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour, God knows, on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship bound for London.
I was very angry with my nephew, the captain, and indeed with all the men, but with him in particular, as well for his acting so out of his duty as a commander of the ship, and having the charge of the voyage upon him, as in his prompting, rather than cooling, the rage of his blind men in so bloody and cruel an enterprise.
Here, likewise -- the germ of the wrinkle-browed, grizzly-bearded, careworn merchant -- we have the smart young clerk, who gets the taste of traffic as a wolf-cub does of blood, and already sends adventures in his master's ships, when he had better be sailing mimic boats upon a mill-pond.

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