Advanced Search


1. Category

The Category Admin will attempt to identify the vessel, but the responsibility is with the submitting members to first try their best.

Please only upload photographs that have a reasonable chance of being identified.

All members are invited to assist in identifying vessels and post their results as a comment to the photo

If identification is not achieved within 12 months of uploading, photographs will be transferred to the Consider for deletion category . The description will be noted “Identity not established within 12 Months” or similar.

Because of the reason for this category, some photos may be accepted despite not complying with site standards. If identification is successful, the photographer member will be contacted, told the vessel details, and informed that the image will then be deleted. As for all possible deletions, the photo will be sent to the Consider for deletion category. Exceptions may be made if there is something in the image that could be of special interest to members. See
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2. Required


- If the vessel name shown in the Title box is possibly not correct, state that here.

- Show the date the photograph was taken.

- Show the location of the vessel, and of the camera.

- Enter any other information that might assist identification, such as docks layout and entrances, and adjacent buildings


- If the vessel name is known but no other information has been found, enter the name in the Title box

- If part of the vessel name is clear, enter a possible name in the Title box, followed by a dash and the word possible. For example Ulysses - Possible

- If there is no knowledge of the vessel name, enter in the Title box the word Unknown followed by vessel type such a Ferry/Containership/ tanker/ etc. For example Unknown Cruise Ship.

- Unless the vessel name is known, dot “Not Relevant” instead of searching for an IMO Number. If an IMO number is obtained, ensure that the name used is correct by checking the vessel type. If it seems OK, upload to the correct category.
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3. Research

1. The category Admin usually first tries a Google search for the possible vessel names. Members should do this before uploading to this category

2. Search the Shipspotting site for titles that may perhaps be the name of the vessel in the photo.

3. If seen, the funnel marking may identify the shipping company, which may have a web site listing its fleet by name.
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4. Action
if submitted photo not suitable

If the photo submitted is not believed to be suitable or possible for researching, a PM will be sent to the member and the photo sent to the Considered for deletion category.

Reasons that may be given in the PM and shown in the Description include “Does not meet site standards” or “Not enough information supplied” or other circumstances.
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5. Action
during research


CATEGORY ADMIN. Messages may be sent to the member who uploaded the photo. The notification feature will be activated to ensure knowledge of a response.

MEMBER. Prompt replies to these messages are requested. The member is also expected to use the notification feature to ensure knowledge of a response.

CATEGORY ADMIN. If expected responses from the photographer member are not received within 14 days, the photo will be sent to the Considered for deletion category with details and the date of the message sent shown in the description. The 14 day period may be extended if the member does not login during that time.


CATEGORY ADMIN. When it is believed that the vessel has been identified, a PM stating this will be sent to the member who submitted the photo. The date and content of this message will be added to the description for the photo.

MEMBER. The member is then expected to resubmit his source image to the appropriate category, where it will be reviewed for compliance with site standards by the category Admin.

CATEGORY ADMIN. If the identified vessel photo does not comply with site standards, the photographer member will be contacted, told the vessel details, and informed that the image will then be transferred to the Consider for deletion category. Exceptions may be made if there is something in the image that could be of special interest to members. See


CATEGORY ADMIN. If it appears that identification will not be possible, a PM stating this will be sent to the member, and the photo transferred to the Considered for deletion category with a note in the Description.

MEMBER. The member can decide what to do with the source image
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6. Site
Standards for this category

See exception below


We have site standards to ensure that the Shipspotting site maintains its focus on good images of ships themselves. In addition to these general standards, some categories have specific variations. Please use the Forum to raise any queries, or contact us at [email protected]

1. Size of image: The resolution must be between 768 x 1024 (or 1024x768) pixels and 10000 x 10000 pixels, files have to be jpeg format. Please make sure that the size you select to post will show a photo that is sharp at the maximum size it will visible on the site. Members should be constantly aware of the limitations of their cameras. Preferably the aspect ratio (width x height) should not be below 3 to 1, to give a view that corresponds to the dimensions of normal screens (viewfinder or computer).

2. Sharpness: Images must be sharp. In a sharp image, names, windows, cranes and other ship details will be clear. Moderate digital enhancement for sharpness is acceptable, but the image must remain sharp in at least one of medium/full screen/original sizes on a screen of at least 280mm. It is accepted that older images, processed from prints, negatives or transparencies may not be as sharp as modern digital photographs, although also in may cases digital photographs will benefit from sharpening

3. Exposure: All images should be appropriately exposed to show the ship clearly, and without large white or black areas. Silhouettes are not accepted.

4. Level: The horizon must be level and verticals should appear so. The image should be straightened where necessary. Some inclination for verticals at the edges of a photo can be allowed.

5. Distortion and enhancement: Photos taken with fish eye or other lenses that produce distorted images are not allowed. Black-and-white images are accepted only if that was the original medium; similarly for colour images. All manipulation of digital images should maintain a “natural” contrast and colour. For further guidance on digital enhancement see

6. Full ships only: For all views except those specifically for part-ship categories, bows, sterns and masts should not be cropped. Bow and stern shots are acceptable if they show the vessel from the waterline to the top of the superstructure.

7. Obstructions: Foreground obstructions should not restrict the view of the ship. Equipment and other vessels that are associated with the normal working of the ship (such as container cranes, tugs or bunkering barges) are acceptable provided they do not dominate the image. For ships alongside quays, the whole length of the ship should be in sight.

8. Main subject: The ship must be the main subject. Distant views where the ship is a small part of the image are not accepted.

9. People: The incidental presence of crew, passengers or shore workers in normal activity (ie not posed) is acceptable. Photographs showing people in the foreground, or others that may invade personal privacy, are not permitted.

10. Borders and watermarks: New digital images should not have added borders. Scanned historic images may retain a border provided it is unobtrusive and not decorative. Watermarks are acceptable provided they are discreet and do not impinge on the ship image. QR electronic codes are not permitted.

11. Small boats: Unless in use by the shipping or fishing industries or public authorities, small boats of less than 20 metres/65 feet in length are not accepted.

12. Multiple photos: When posting multiple photos of the same vessel taken on the same Date, the submission must be restricted to a maximum of 4 photographs with a significant change of Aspect/Angle between the photographs.

13. Date and location of photo: These must be included in the Description, if not added from the Location and Date of photo menus on the Upload page.

14 Old photos or negative scans from members archives must comply with Site Standards. Scratches or other blemishes should be removed, which may require the use of more advanced software.


A. If posting multiple photos to assist in identification, then all must be given the same name in the Title box when uploaded, so that they will stay together in a search. This is also an accepted exception to 7) above.
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