Lloyd’s Register of Ships is a list of most ships above 500 gross register tons (see below) and gives many details about each vessel – her owner, previous names, length, beam, draught, cargo capacity, machinery and other details. (See the examples below of three ships – Scott Spirit, Safmarine Mafadi, and IVS Gleneagles.)

The register dates back to 1760 when, because few shipping people had their own offices, they gathered in coffee houses near the dock areas in London. One of these that was particularly popular with shipping people was the coffee house of Edward Lloyd. Although much of the conversation was informal, those in the coffee house discussed ships and cargoes. Deals were also made about cargo shipments, sales of ships, and even the “hiring” or chartering of ships.

Lloyd kept a list of ships and their details, and from this came Lloyd’s Register of Ships, now published in book form (there are four parts to the list of ships) and there are also a number of other books that list ship owners and other shipping-related details. These books are also available digitally which is preferred by many, and which is different in format to the book layout.

For each ship listed in Lloyd’s Register of Ships, some details need explaining :

Official Number  This is a number allocated to the ship by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) before construction work begins. The number is known as the IMO number and does not change, even if the ship changes ownership or is renamed. (It is like the chassis number on a car that remains unchanged throughout the car’s existence even if the owner sells the car.)

Ship’s Name   In the extract given below, the vessel Halifax Sun was built in 2009 (see date in red below) and had two previous names. From her completion in 2009 until 2010, she was called Storm Petrel (10, shown in the example in orange next to the name indicates the date – 2010 – until which she had this name). From 2010 to 2012, she was called North Star. In 2012, she was renamed Halifax Sun.

Gross Register Tons (grt) This value (19243 grt in the case of Halifax Sun) is calculated via a complicated formula and relates to all the enclosed spaces on a ship, i.e. it includes cabins, holds, the engineroom and all other enclosed spaces. In some countries, this value is used to calculate the port charges for a ship.

Nett Register Tons (nrt)  This value (15467 nrt in the case of Halifax Sun) is calculated via a complicated formula and relates to all the revenue-earning spaces on a ship, i.e. on a cargo-carrying ship, it includes only the holds or tanks in which cargo can be carried. This value is used to calculate certain tariffs such as the tariff that a ship is charged to pass through the Suez Canal.

Deadweight Tons (dwt)   This value is calculated via a complicated formula and indicates the amount of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water and stores a ship can carry. The deadweight of Halifax Sun is given as 29431 dwt. This means that she can carry about 26700 tons of cargo, and that fuel, fresh water, ballast water and stores will make up the remaining 2731 tons

Length Overall (LO)   This is the length of the ship from the extreme point on the bow to the extreme point on the stern. This figure is important when deciding whether a ship can enter a particular drydock, lock or can be berthed at a particular berth in a harbour.

Length between perpendiculars (Lbp)  This length is the distance between the first bulkhead nearest the bow and the last bulkhead near the stern in the ship. It is important when arrangements are made for drydocking a ship.

Beam extreme   This is the widest point on the ship. It is important when deciding whether a ship can enter a particular harbour, drydock or lock.

Beam (moulded)  This is the widest point on the bottom of the ship. It is important when arrangements are made for drydocking of a ship.

Depth  This is the height from the main deck to the bottom of the ship.

Draught  This is the depth of the ship in the water. The more cargo the ship has on board, the lower she will be in the water. A ship with little cargo on board will not be as low in the water. It is important to know the draught of a ship when deciding whether a ship can enter a harbour or a lock or take a particular course. If the draught is greater than the water depth in a harbour at low spring tide, the ship certainly cannot enter the harbour. Allowance must also be made for clearance of the ship from the seabed in the harbour, especially if a swell is running. Therefore a few metres should be added to the draught of the ship to ensure her safe passage into the harbour. e.g.


Freeboard  This is the distance from the waterline to the main deck. Although this figure is not given in the Lloyd’s Register, it can be calculated easily by subtracting the draught of the ship from the depth of a ship. e.g.


The more cargo a ship carries, the greater will be the draught and the less will be her freeboard. Ships with little cargo on board will have a greater freeboard.



Unicorn Line’s products tanker Breede (above) has discharged most of her cargo. (When loaded, she will be down to where the red meets the maroon-like colour.) She therefore has a high freeboard and a small draught. When carrying a full cargo, she will have a lower freeboard and only the orange and blue part of her hull will be above the water. Photograph: Andrew Ingpen

To familiarise you with Lloyd’s Register of Ships, we will work through three examples :

  • The shuttle tanker Scott Spirit that is specially designed to load crude oil from an offshore oil platform and carry the crude oil to a port near a refinery. For this purpose, the shuttle tanker has a special loading point on the fo’c’sle which is clearly visible in the photograph of the three shuttle tankers below.
  • The containership Safmarine Meru
  • The Supramax bulk carrier IVS Gleneagles.

Scott Spirit (left) and her two sisterships, Peary Spirit (right) and Nansen Spirit (top) in Stavanger, Norway, for their naming ceremonies on the same day in October 2011. Photograph: Teekay


Test Yourself

Look at the Lloyd’s Register entry for Scott Spirit. Now answer the following questions

  1. What is the ship’s official IMO number?
  2. Who are her owners?
  3. In which country is she registered?
  4. In which port is she registered?
  5. What is her deadweight?
  6. Can she carry a cargo 96 000 tons of tons of crude oil? Explain your answer.
  7. When was she built?
  8. Which company built her?
  9. Where was she built?
  10. What is her usual service speed?
  11. She took a full stem of heavy fuel oil (HFO) at Port X. She steamed for five days in ballast to reach an offshore facility to load 90000 tons of crude oil. She took six days to load. (She had to run her main engine for that time.) She then steamed 2688 nautical miles to Port Y to discharge her cargo. At Port Y she discharged her cargo alongside using all four manifolds.

11.1     How many days did it take for her to steam from the offshore oil facility to Port Y? (In your calculation, refer to the details of her speed in the Lloyd’s Register extract.)

11.2    For how many days in total was her main engine operating?

11.3     Consult the details of her fuel consumption in the Lloyd’s Register extract. How many tons of heavy fuel oil did she use?

11.4     How many tons of heavy fuel oil will she have left when she arrives in Port Y?

  1. She took a full stem of marine diesel oil (MDO) at Port X.

12.1     For how many days did she load cargo?

12.2     For how many days was she using 3 tons of MDO?

12.3     How many tons of MDO did she use during the entire voyage? (Note the consumption of MDO.)

12.4     How many tons of MDO will she have left when she arrives in Port Y?

12.5     How many hours did it take to discharge her cargo in Port Y?

12.6     How much MDO did she use while she discharged her cargo?


The Safmarine containership Safmarine Mafadi. Photograph: Andrew Ingpen


Test Yourself

Look at the Lloyd’s Register extract above for Safmarine Mafadi. Now answer the following questions:

  1. When was she built?
  2. Where was she built?
  3. Who are her owners?
  4. What is her length overall?
  5. What is her draught when loaded?
  6. What is her depth?
  7. What is her freeboard when loaded? (You will need to calculate this.)
  8. What is her beam extreme?
  9. What is her container capacity in teu?
  10. How many reefer containers can she carry?
  11. Safmarine Mafadi is being considered to transfer to a route where she will need to carry a maximum of 1700 40-foot containers plus 420 40-foot reefer containers.

11.1   Can she carry the required cargo?

11.2   Explain your answer to this question.

  1. The expanded Panama Canal lock system can accommodate vessels up to 400 metres long and up to 50 metres wide. Can Safmarine Mafadi pass through the expanded canal?
  2. Safmarine Mafadi is due to berth in Shanghai, China, at 08:00 on 5 November. One hour later, she will start discharging 660 containers, and will load 840 containers. Five gantry cranes have been allocated to her. Each will handle 30 containers an hour. Breaks will total 2 hours.

13.1   How many hours will the ship be working cargo?

13.2   When will she finish working cargo?

13.3   If she will sail one hour after completing cargowork, what is her ETD from Shanghai?


The Supramax Bulker IVS Gleneagles. She is shown in ballast (i.e. she has no cargo on board) and has a high freeboard. When she is fully laden, she will be further in the water to where the black meets the red. Photograph: Grindrod


Test Yourself

Look at the details for IVS Gleneagles. Now answer the following questions:

  1. What type of ship is IVS Gleneagles?
  2. She is under consideration for a charter to carry the following cargo from Port A to Port B. At Port B, there are no shoreside discharge facilities.
  • 2 500 tons of granite (each block of granite weighs 10 tons)
  • 16 800 tons of pig iron (considered to be a bulk cargo)
  • 7 800 tons of steel bars
  • 5 400 tons of ferrochrome (a mineral bulk cargo)

2.1   Look at her deadweight. In terms of that, can she carry this cargo? Answer YES or NO but show your calculations.

2.2   Explain your answer to Question 2.1.

  1. The charterer and the ship agree that the cargo should be stowed as follows :
Hold Cargo Tonnage Loading Rate
Hold 1 Granite 2 500 tons 5 blocks an hour
Hold 2 Pig Iron 8 000 tons 400 tons per hour
Hold 3 Pig Iron 8 800 tons 400 tons per hour
Hold 4 Steel bars 7 800 tons 600 tons per hour
Hold 5 Ferrochrome 5 400 tons 300 tons per hour

3.1   Can she discharge her cargo at Port B, given that the port has no shoreside discharge facilities? Explain your answer.

3.2   Port A has a water depth of 11 metres at Spring Low Tide and a lock that has the following dimensions:
Length : 212 metres;
Breadth : 42 metres

3.2.1   Can she enter the lock?

3.2.2   Can she sail from Port A, loaded to her full loaded draught at Spring Low Tide?

3.2.3   Assume that loading her five holds began at the same time.   How many blocks of granite will be loaded?   How long will the granite take to load?   Which hold will take the longest to load?

  1. Assume the following :
  • The ship is expected to arrive at the pilot station in Port A at 06:00 on 7 June
  • She will have to spend about 1 hour for the passage through the lock.
  • She will berth 3 hours later
  • Clearances will take another two hours
  • Various surveys and discussions will take another three hours.
  • Breaks total 5 hours.
  • Various clearances and surveys will take five hours after loading has finished.

4.1   When will loading begin?

4.2   When will loading end?

4.3   When will she sail from Port A?

  1. Explain the term deadweight.
  1. What are the clearances that need to be done just after she has berthed?
  1. Whom will the surveyors represent when they board the ship before loading commences?
  1. Why is this ship particularly suited to carry cargoes like steel, pig iron and granite?
  1. What term is given to cargoes like steel and granite?
  1. In which port is she registered?
  1. When is her next special survey due?