Guidelines for Marine News Contributors

All contributors to MARINE NEWS, existing or potential, are asked to read the guidelines below, approved by the WSS Council in April 2017. They have been adopted to ensure accuracy and consistency of style, spelling and presentation in printed articles. Your submission is much more likely to be accepted for publication if you make every effort to comply with this guidance.

The Feature Editor’s role

The Features Editor has been authorised by the WSS Council to take responsibility for commissioning and accepting material for publication MARINE NEWS, in terms of its subject matter, length and style. The role includes implementing the house style, detailed below. Contributors are expected to follow this style as closely as possible, and the Features Editor has the authority to amend or reject submissions which do not comply.

The Features Editor is not responsible for the factual content of a contribution, but will base acceptance on his confidence in the work of a given contributor. He is also at liberty to add additional information if he considers it necessary.

Contributors are expected to submit suitable illustrations to accompany their work, and to ensure that the necessary permission has been obtained to reproduce them. However, the editor is at liberty to reject illustrations not of a suitable standard, and may if he sees fit obtain additional illustrations.

The Features Editor’s remit applies to the front part of the journal; and not to the detailed listings of sales, demolitions, casualties and new buildings which are under a separate editor. Neither is he responsible for advertising which appears in MARINE NEWS.

Marine News housestyle


When referring to this journal, please use the style MARINE NEWS (i.e. in capital letters).

For articles any text over two pages in length should have subheads to break it up.

Titles of books and articles in ‘Single quotation marks’.

Tonnages and dates expressed as (1,234/89). These are not needed for ships if they are in an accompanying fleet list.

Please include sources and acknowledgements.

Names of ships

Put all ship’s names in text, captions and fleet lists in upper cases, e.g. CLAN FERGUSSON, HMS HOOD. N captions, but the name in bold capitals: e.g. BRITISH LIBERTY

On first use of a ship’s name, add IMO number in brackets (if one is allocated) and add gross tons and date also in brackets.

Always use ‘she’ not ‘it’.

SS, MV, RMS and similar before ship’s name is anachronistic and out of place in an enthusiast journal.

Where there is more than one ship of the name, and where there is likely to be confusion, use (1), (2) and so on after the name (not in italics) or give tonnage and date in the style (1,852/23).


Unless very familiar (e.g. HMS, sonar, Commander Smith RN, U-boat) always spell out abbreviations the first time you use them, putting the abbreviation in round brackets if you intend to use it again; e.g. Manchester Ship Canal (MSC).

Keep punctuation in abbreviations minimal, e.g. HMS not H.M.S. Use USS, SMS, but for other nations’ warships just give the name. However, use stops after initials in personal names, e.g. J.P. Morgan.

If in doubt about spelling, spell it out, e.g. forecastle not fo’c’s’l.

Dates and times

In fleet lists style is 1958: or 27.11.1946:

In text: 27th November 1946 (note order, non-superscript ‘st’, ‘th’ and ‘nd’, and lack of commas).

Times should be expressed as 4.00 a.m., 7.00 p.m.


Spell out one to ten, then use figures for 11 upwards, unless two numbers are mentioned in a phrase such as: ‘one to eleven’. Do not take this to extremes: ‘the hold was 1.5 metres deep’, not ‘one point five metres’!

The words hundreds, thousands, millions are preferred to 100s, 1,000s, 1,000,000s, but above all be consistent.


Apostrophes indicate possession (the ship’s cat, Harrisons’ BENEFACTOR) or that letters have been omitted (‘tween deck, it’s a matter of taste).

They do not go in plurals or in dates.


It is regarded as the author’s responsibility to gather good quality photographs or other illustrations and obtain consent to use them. The editor reserves the right to reject poor quality reproductions.

Captions to photographs

Always supply captions to photographs you wish to use. Be as informative as possible, but try not to repeat information elsewhere in the text. Give place and date of photograph if known. Point out anything unusual in the photo, such as a modification or unusual feature of a ship or a charterer’s funnel marking. Credit the photographer and the source, if different, in italics: e.g. John Smith/WSPL

Personal names

Include forename if known. Only use Mr if no forename or initials known. Use ranks and titles sparingly: Admiral Cunningham, Captain Smith, Sir Michael Jagger, Lord Lucan. Qualifications, honours and awards are not usually necessary.

Capitals or not?

Do not over use capitals: they are only for proper names.

Captain Smith has a capital C, but ‘a new captain was appointed’ or ‘the captain’s day room’ has lower case c. The same applies to other ranks.

More examples.

West Africa (part proper name), but west coast of the United Kingdom

autumn, winter, spring, summer


North Pole, South Pole, polar

north, south, east, west: lower case, but: North-West Passage



the Atlantic Grill Room (proper name) but the galley (not a proper name).

Preferred spellings

Follow Oxford Dictionary with e.g. ‘s’ rather than ‘z’ spellings in, for instance, organise.

Some words and styles:



Cape Town

CD-Rom (hyphen)

deep-water ship

engine room

dry dock


Do not use etc, it is unnecessary and suggests you can’t think of another example!


heavy-lift derrick

Lloyds of London, ‘Lloyd’s List’, Lloyd’s Register (never just ‘Lloyds’, there are several of them).

new building

on board, on-board (adjective)

peacetime, wartime (one word)



sailing ship (no hyphen)

ship owner

ship breakers

shipbuilder/shipbuilding (both one word)


‘tween deck


world-wide (hyphen)

Fleet lists

The WSS style is very well established, and has become an industry standard. If you include a detailed list of merchant ships with their technical details and full careers please keep to this style rigorously. The style now used in the Marine News Supplement, with each change of name or owner (i.e. date) beginning on a new line, is preferred for clarity (example below). Not all details may be available, but the

essential ones are tonnages, dimensions, engines, builder with dates, name and date of each change of owner, manager and name, and fate. Additional information, e.g. on non-fatal casualties, may be included.

The following may be abbreviated: Co. Ltd., plc, G.m.b.H., K.G., S.p.A., S.A., B.V., N.V., A/S, A/B, O/Y. And yes, do use stops.

Dates in a fleet list should be as detailed as possible, style is 1.1.1901.

Quote launch date if known, and at least one of the following: initial registration date, completion date (as quoted in Lloyd’s Register), delivery date, date of maiden voyage (all of these may be included).

For oil engines, use the following style:

4SCSA 6-cyl. Sulzer-type oil engine by J.G. Kincaid Ltd., Glasgow; 6,500 BHP, 11 knots.

Ships’ names in fleet lists are CAPITALISED.

ELDERSLIE 1884-1898 Iron

O.N. 89929 2,761g 1,801n.

300.0 x 40.0 x 23.9 feet.

C.2-cyl. by Palmer’s Shipbuilding and Iron Co. Ltd., Newcastle-upon-Tyne; 306 NHP.

30.4.1884: Launched by Palmer’s Shipbuilding and Iron Co. Ltd., Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Yard No. 538).

20.6.1884: Registered in the ownership of Turnbull, Martin and Co., Glasgow as ELDERSLIE.

12.10.1887: Transferred to the Elderslie Steamship Co. Ltd. (Turnbull, Martin and Co., managers), Glasgow.

6.5.1898: Sold to the Talbot Steamship Co. Ltd. (T. Bowen Rees and Co., managers), London.

28.3.1899: Sold to the Simpson Steamship Co. Ltd. (William Simpson, manager), Cardiff.

1.10.1900: Renamed ELLAMY.

1.5.1905: Wrecked at Tokora, Kitami, Japan whilst on a coastal voyage.

21.7.1905: Register closed.

It is impossible to cover every eventuality, and the Features Editor must use his discretion where the above does not cover the particular case. These guidelines my be updated from time to time.