Merchant Shipping

The interests of World Ship Society members include a wide variety of ship types both merchant and naval.  For the large number of members whose interests tend toward merchant ships, the Society has much to offer.

Its information resources allow data to be supplied to members about most ships built over the last 150 years, their owners, builders, careers and fates – effectively the birth, life and death of each ship.  In particular, these resources include:

Starke/Schell Registers, published by the WSS, which give details and careers of all merchant ships over 300 tons built between 1870 and 1999. 

Details of current ships which have been sold, broken up, have become casualties or have recently been completed appear in each month’s Marine News and its sister publication the Marine News Supplement.  Both publications are comprehensively indexed.

A huge collection of images of merchant ships in the form of negatives, black and white and colour prints, slides and digital images.

World-class collections of information on shipping company houseflags and funnel colours.

A huge library of fleet lists of shipping companies, examples of which together with histories and photographs feature in the Marine News Supplement each month.

Detailed lists of the ships built by shipyards in Europe and round the world.

A large and growing number of publications on merchant ship owners and types of vessels, as listed below.

A major library comprising books and journals on most aspects of merchant shipping which is available for consultation at the Society’s Library and Archive in the Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent.

Archives relating to merchant ship owners, builders, careers, casualties and liveries maintained at our Chatham facility and available for Society members and the general public to consult by arrangement.

In addition to the above, members enjoy talks and slide shows on merchant ship topics at WSS branches, and local social meetings, and are welcome to attend the biennial Merchant Ship Meeting, with talks by experts, seafarers and academics on a wide variety of topics.