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Merchant Ship Type

Merchant ships can be divided into groups according to the type of cargo they carry. These groups are :

General Cargo Vessels - General Cargo Vessels carry packaged items like chemicals, foods, furniture, machinery, motor vehicles, footwear, garments, etc.

Bulk carriers or bulkers are used for the transportation of homogeneous cargo such as coal, grain, ore and other similar products in loose form. Used for the carriage of bulk commodities like wheat, sulphur, iron ore, coal etc. Bulk carriers can be recognized by large box-like hatches on deck, designed to slide outboard or fold fore-and-aft to enable access for loading or discharging cargo.

Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size containers.

Tankers - Tankers carry petroleum products or other liquid cargo.
Tankers are used for the transport of fluids, such as crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas and chemicals, also vegetable oils, wine and other food .

Crude Carriers Used for the carriage of (you guessed it) crude oil – further classified as  VLCC (Very large Crude Carriers) and ULCC (Ultra large Crude Carriers)

LNG Carriers Used for the carriage of Liquefied Natural Gas..

Reefer Vessel Used for the carriage of frozen cargoes or temperature controlled cargoes like fruits, meat, fish etc.

Multi-purpose Vessels Used for the carriage of a combination of above cargoes.. Very versatile, popular and useful vessels specially along certain routes which require self-geared vessels.

Breakbulk Vessels Used for the carriage of various kinds of cargoes – bagged cargo (cement, sugar etc), palletised cargo (paint, chemicals etc), timber etc.

Ro-Ro Vessels Used for the carriage of wheeled cargo like cars, buses, trucks. Further classified as PCC (Pure Car Carriers) & PCTC (Pure Car & Truck Carriers).

Specialized ships

Coasters - Smaller ships for any category of cargo which are normally not on ocean-crossing routes, but in coastwise trades. Coasters are shallow-hulled ships used for trade between locations on the same island or continent. Their shallow hulls mean that they can get through reefs where seagoing ships usually cannot (seagoing ships have a very deep hull for supplies and trade etc.).

Passenger ships - A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers.

Cruise ships - A cruise ship or a cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are considered an essential part of the experience.

Ferries - A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat or ship, but also other forms, carrying (or ferrying) passengers and sometimes their vehicles. Ferries are also used to transport freight.


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