Steamship Designations / Prefixes (Merchant Vessels)

Ships during the late 1800s through 1950s all had a prefix. The most common prefixes appear below.

  • SS for Steamship (Steam Ship) This is the default designation
  • R.M.S. for Royal Mail Ship / Royal Mail Steamer
  • M.S. for Motor Ship or Mail Steamer
  • M.V. for Motor Vessel
  • R.M.M.V. for Royal Mail Motor Vessel
  • TSS for Twin-Screw / Triple Screw Propulsion Ship

You will often see documents from the same voyage using different designations such as SS "Steamship" and RMS "Steamship."

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