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Commons:Category scheme ships

This Category scheme ships is a proposal for the Category:Ships.


Naming of categories has to be consistent. As a basic premise, ships are categorized by three broad methods:

  • Ships by ...
  • Ships of ... (registration)
  • Ships in ... (location)

Ships by ....[edit]

Suggested categorising by name:[edit]

As given in the header of the category.

Category:Ships by name for Commercial ships[edit]

To make it possible to categorise ships in a meaninful and standardised system it is necessary that each ship gets her own category by name. Category names that apply to all ships and ship-like vessels, and which do not require specialized knowledge of local naming conventions. Any unexperienced user can find categories for images of a certain vessel. Commons is not a Wikipedia, has its own categorising system. Ship categorising according a certain Wikipedia is not adviced, as worldwide Wikipedias differ in approach.

Some consideration needs to be given for non-Latin alphabets. For instance File:38MoskvaoffMoroccoJan1970.jpg is the "Москва" not "Moskva" to its owners. Use of the Latin alphabet is fine (its more universal - other alphabets are specific to one language) but should be mentioned.

Prefixes/postfixes such as MS, SS, USS, RMS, ... are pretty much language dependent. Each language has its own prefix system (e.g. SS means Sailing Ship, in other languages Steam Ship) and prefixes are not painted on the ship. As Commons is for a Wikipedia in any language, we have to leave these out in category names to avoid misunderstandings.

Most ships have simple names that are reused very often for persons, books, songs, bands and movies, Greek goddesses, expressions, machines, places, animals, mountains, music tempi, professions, celestial bodies, and so on. Category names reflect not the name of the subject, but are made up for convenience. We don't have an image database for experts, but for everybody who wants to write an article on a certain Wikipedia. So we better take a good start instead of having continuously problems with mix-ups and rename procedures. End of 2010 started a new discussion in Commons talk:Naming categories about the naming of ships. The suggestion was to categorise ships on Wikipedia in Category:Ships by name as: "shipname" ("ship", "tugboat" or "submarine"). Not further devided, as one has to be expert to categorise properly by type or use.

Many ships have the same name. See example Category:Columbia_(ship). To make the neccessary difference, a year was added.

The reason not to name by "year of launching" is that these dates are very hard to find for a lot of ships, especially ancient ships. With changes in the methods of ship-building the old "keel laying" changed to "first steel cut" or "construction started" as a ceremonial start to the build process. Have a look at the difference in e.g. French, German, English and Dutch Wikipedia. The en:Category:HMS Dreadnought (1875) and de:Category:HMS Dreadnought (1879) are the same ship. On Commons, as it is a worldwide working database, it is important and accepted to use just one system for any item.

There is even a discussion possible about the launch date in situations where the official naming ceremony doesn't coincide with the date of actually going into the water? An obvious example is, which was due to be named and rolled out of the building hall on Thursday 16th December and lowered into the water on Friday 17th. As it happened, the naming went ahead on Thursday but technical problems prevented her being moved. Ambush was slated to be launched on 17 December, but a malfunction with the shiplift meant that while the official naming ceremony went ahead on that day, the vessel was not actually launched until [date if possible, if not, just 'later']." should solve most problems (see the third paragraph of for a similar example in terms of commissioning). The roll-out and the subsequent lowering of the shiplift might both be dates which are more difficult to verify.

The reason not to name by "year of naming" is, that in these days namings/christenings can happen long before or long after the ship is launched (i.e. some modern cruise ships aren't 'officially' named until just before or during their maiden trip). The official naming ceremony is likely to be the date for which a verifiable date is likely to be reported, but very hard to find for a lot of ships, especially ancient ships.

The date of completion can be found on the certificates of the ships, on contracts and publications in the media, even for old ships, not described in full on the internet. In that case the date of completion is the best choise if we want to find start dates. If the date/year of completion cannot be found, we can add the year of launch by alternative.

Also "place of built" is added when name and year for more vessels are the same). Example: Category:Bolero (ship, 2003). In very few cases, when we have two ships with the same name, built in the same year, at the same place, the "yard number". Example Category:Stena Transporter (ship, 1978, Ulsan, 649). Perhaps even better not just the number but Yard Nr.

In Commons no problem when a ship is renamed, the ship gets a new category for images with her new name. Ships built after 1948 or so have in many cases an IMO number, so the connection/coupling for all images of those ships is via the IMO number.

Category:Ships by name for fishing ships[edit]

There will always be discussion in classifying a fishing vessel boat or ship on Commons. Used is the deviation made by The United Kingdom fishing vessel list (excluding islands), containing registered and licensed vessels of over 10 metres overall length. So under 10 meter boat, over 10 meter ship. Also, when not mentioned or other countries: when she has a bun a boat, a hold a ship.

Category:Ships by name for naval ships[edit]

Unfortunately naval shiplovers here on Commons up till now want to continue the system of their local Wikipedia for their naval ships. As the content of USS naval ships is the biggest of naval ships on Commons, you'll find the English Wikipedia system here on a lot of USS naval ships. No problem at all to use different naming systems in a certain Wikipedia, but not in Commons. Ships of the Royal Dutch Navy are always known locally as "Hare Majesteit's" or "Hr.Ms." followed by the name. Not a way the Dutch naval ships should be categorised in Commons. We also had "French ship" categories. Category names have to be language independant as much as possible. Even for ships of English speaking countries.

Category:Ships by name for naval and fishing ships[edit]

If an image of a certain naval or fishing ship has to be categorised (and easily be found) these ships are hard to find if the name is not found on the image. Most names of naval and fishing ships have only relatively small carved or painted nameplates, hardly to find on images. Military ship names are the plain name, and do not include the pennant number. However the pennant number is painted in big letters/numbers on the hull to serve as a quick recognition marker. We have to realise that we are talking about naming categories, not naming ships. The intension is to make it as easy as possible to find images, also for military ships. So inexperienced users might look for categories with these letters/numbers and not for the name of the ship.

That is the reason why more and more of these ships are categorised: by the indication (pennant number in many cases, Russian ships have no real pennant number) or "fishing license", "shipname" ("ship", "tugboat" or "submarine", "year of completion (or first commissioning for naval ships)", "place of built") when name and year for the vessel are the same). See Category:Ships by pennant number and Category:Fishing vessels by license number.

Ships are just numbered and during a vast period only the pennant number is painted on the ship. In the case of certain ships, such as some LSTs and submarines, they never received a "name" as such, but are known by the pennant number in the absence of anything better, so the pennant is the de facto name. Furthermore pennant numbers can change without any alterations to the ship or its ownership. This is not different from ships known by name. The only problem is, that no system exist like the IMO system, where a hull always keeps the IMO number and the link between the names can be found via the IMO number. We don't have a coupling mechanism.

If the conclusion of the discussion is, that we leave out all prefixes and the pennant numbers, the category scheme can allow search-by-pennant number easily enough. To use the "Enterprise example" - it could be in categories with names like "ships with pennant number 65", "US Navy ships with hull classification code CVN" and "US Navy ships with hull classification code CVAN". The pennant information for ships that have a name too doesn't need to be in the category name to allow non-experts to use the categories. These categories allow for appropriate searching by people who are unfamiliar with the ships. Remember also, if the only thing a person knows about a photo of a ship is that it has "65" on its side, they cannot ID it from that alone, but need further information.

In service again. I wonder how to continue the discussion about ships by name. I assume we now have the pro and contra arguments and have to make the discussion wider. My idea and suggestion is to summarize both discussions on User:Stunteltje/Sandbox/Ships and in the User talk:Stunteltje/Sandbox and to continue on Category talk:Ships by name. No comment = tranfer the discussion. --Stunteltje (talk) 08:27, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Category:Ships by IMO number[edit]

(status 01-01-2011: 3645 categories) for Sea-going ships: The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 169 Member States and three Associate Members. The organisation introduced in 1987 an IMO ship identification number scheme, through adoption of resolution A.600(15), as a measure aimed at enhancing "maritime safety, and pollution prevention and to facilitate the prevention of maritime fraud". It aimed at assigning a permanent number to each ship for identification purposes. That number would remain unchanged upon transfer of the ship to other flag(s) and would be inserted in the ship's certificates. When made mandatory, through SOLAS regulation XI/3 (adopted in 1994), specific criteria of passenger ships of 100 gross tonnage and upwards and all cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards were agreed. The implementation of the scheme became mandatory for all ships as of 1 January 1996. So for sea-going ships the most important category will be this Meta-category.

Category:Vessels by ENI number[edit]

(status 01-01-2011: 494 categories) for European Inland waterway vessels: The Inland Transport Comittee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe introduced in 2006 an European Number of Identification scheme. It aimed at assigning a permanent number to each ship for identification purposes. That number would remain unchanged upon transfer of the ship to other flag(s) and would be inserted in the ship's certificates. So for European barges and other European inland waterway vessels the most important category will be this Meta-category.

Category:Ships by pennant number[edit]

(status 01-01-2011 3 categories) for United States naval ships. It might be a good idea to rename the category to: US Navy ships with hull classification code.

Ships by location[edit]

(16 C)

     [+] Ships by color (4 C)
     [+] Ships by condition (15 C)
     [+] Ships by country (151 C)
     [+] Ships by designer (1 C)
     [+] Ships by function (51 C)
     [+] Ships by number of funnels (2 C)

     [+] Ships by number of masts (4 C)
     [+] Ships by material (3 C)
     [+] Ships by motive power (5 C)
     [+] Ships by operator (116 C)
     [+] Ships by period (13 C)
     [+] Ships by shipyard (30 C)
     [+] Ships by type (42 C, 1 B)
     [+] Ships by type and by name (8 C)

     [+] Ships by war (2 C)


by type, by country, and chronologically.  


Type distinction is highly subjective, as nomenclature for various types of ships change from country to country and over time, not to mention the whims of a ship's owner to classify their vessel as such. Generally, a ship should be listed under applicable widely recognized classifications as well as under classifications specifically applied to the ship in question, especially if by an official source. For example, the French Navy uses the designation frigate for both its ships commonly seen as frigates, as well as larger vessels internationally recognized as destroyers. In such a case, it is appropriate to list a ship under both frigates and destroyers. Additionally, certain types cross barriers between names, such as battlecruisers. The term has been so varied in its application that there is no clear definition. Additionally, most vessels that have been called such could also adequately be refered to as either cruisers or battleships or both. Thus it is perfectly fine to categorize in multiple categories on a case-by-case basis.


Both ships in general and all sizeable types should have a 'by country' sub-category, under which all appropriate 'ships of foo' categories should reside, alphabetized by country name. Format of 'by country' categories should be 'Ships of X', 'Naval ships of X', 'Merchant ships of X', 'Catamarans of X', etc. as appropriate. National adjectives ('American', 'British', 'Canadian', etc.) should not be used as these can be confusing both in alphabetizing and when compared to operator specific categories. Guidelines for super-national categories apply ('China', 'Korea', etc.), and can be used as makes sense, but each sovereign country should have a listing at the 'by country' level (historical countries included). Under a country category, specific operators can be sub-categorized as needed. For smaller nations, this may not make sense, but for larger countries--especially those with tumultuous histories--it may be wise to sub-categorize ships by the operator within the country. For example, 'Naval ships of Japan' should probably contain sub-categories for 'Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ships' and 'Imperial Japanese Navy ships' to differentiate between these services. Operator categories should be in the form 'Operator Proper Name ships'. Military operators should be listed as sub-cats of 'Naval ships of Foo' while commercial operators should be listed under the specific type of ship they operate, or if they operate various types, under 'Ships of Foo'.


Both 'by era' categories as well as year-specific categories should be maintained for chronological classification of ships. This is necessary to support wikis which use either one or the other (for example en:WP uses eras and fr:WP uses decades).

For 'by era' categories, ships are categorized into general eras which correspond roughly to important periods of naval history. Like ship types, where a specific ship is appropriate to list in multiple eras, that is fine. Whether or not a ship belongs in an era is based on whether that ship served any significant time during that period. Thus a ship built in 1899 would probably not fit in the 'Victorian era' unless it did something noteworthy right away. More likely it should be listed in the 'WWI era' as that is likely to have had any historically significant role. However, if in doubt, list a ship in each era during which it saw service. Major eras are as follows:

  • Age of Sail: Approximately 1570-1860
  • Victorian era: Approximately 1830-1900
  • World War I: Approximately 1900-1919
  • World War II: Approximately 1920-1945
  • Cold War: Approximately 1945-1990
  • Modern: Approximately 1990 to present

Specific or finer granularity is fine as sub-categories of these major categories. Additionally, specific conflicts or events can be listed as sub-categories of these (for example, 'Vietnam War ships' as a sub-category of 'Cold War ships').

For 'by decade' categories, first commission date should be used to categorize a vessel. This follows French practice, and Category: aircraft by decade precendents of using the first entry into service date. Because technology moved at a slower pace in the 18th century and prior, ships are organized by century. Subsequent periods felt radical technological changes from decade to decade and so from the 19th century onward, ships are organized by decade. The rule of commission date should be applied rigorously, but not with absolute inflexibiliy. In cases where the editor feels that a ship nearby another decade and is truly representative of that decade, then it is the editor's discretion to move the ship to the other decade (either earlier or later).


Start category: Category:Ships[edit]

  1. Ships by country
    1. Category:Ships of Foo
      1. Category:Operating Company ships
  2. Ships by era
  3. Ships by year
  4. Boats
  5. Fictional ships
  6. Fishing vessels
    1. Fishing vessels by country
    2. Fishing vessels by era
    3. Whalers
  7. Merchant ships
    1. Merchant ships by country
    2. Merchant ships by era
    3. Bulk freighters
    4. Carracks
    5. Container ships
    6. Escort vessels
    7. Freighters
    8. Galleons
    9. Tankers
  8. Museum ships
    1. Museum ships by country
  9. Naval ships
    1. Naval ships by country
      1. Category:Naval ships of Foo
        1. Category:Fooian Navy ships
        2. Category:Old Fooian Navy ships
        3. Category:Fooian Coast Guard ships
    2. Naval ships by era
    3. Aircraft carriers
    4. Amphibious warfare vessels
    5. Auxiliary ships
    6. Battleships
    7. Cruisers
    8. Destroyers
    9. Escort vessels
    10. Mine warfare vessels
    11. Missile boats
    12. Monitors
    13. Patrol vessels
    14. Pirate ships
    15. Ships of the line
    16. Submarines
    17. Torpedo boats
  10. Passenger ships
    1. Passenger ships by country
    2. Passenger ships by era
    3. Cruise ships
    4. Ferries
    5. Hospital ships
    6. Yachts
  11. Service vessels
  12. Ship construction
  13. Shipwrecks
  14. Ship insignia

[[Category:Commons category schemes|Ships]

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