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Steamship Designations / Prefixes (Merchant Vessels)

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

  • S.S. 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
  • T.S.S. for Twin-Screw / Triple Screw Propulsion Ship

You will often see documents from the same voyage using different designations such as S.S. "Steamship" and R.M.S. "Steamship."

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