Ships are vessels that travel across water. In the heavily oceanic world, ships are a very common mode of transportation.
Many of the ships that exist in the world are based on the classic sail designs, but there are also ships ranging from the size of massive islands down to tiny one man ships. There are a variety of uses for ships: pirate ships, Marine ships, and ships for civil purposes. Ships are often built and repaired by shipwrights, such as the Galley-La Company in Water 7.
Types of Ships
- Caravel (カラベル Karaberu?): A small ship that is faster and agile due to its size, though fragile. The Going Merry was a caravel.
- Galleon (ガレオン Gareon?): A large, multi-storied ship with armed cargo. The Dreadnaught Sabre was a galleon.
- Cruise ship (客船 Kyakusen?): A luxury ship meant for passengers to enjoy a sea-based voyage. The Orbit was a cruise ship.
- Raft (丸太舟 Marutabune?): A small makeshift boat with logs of wood tied together. The first ship the Blackbeard Pirates had was a gigantic raft.
- Ark (方舟 Hakobune?): A very large ship meant to carry a huge number of passengers, usually meant for salvation purposes. Maxim and Noah are both arks.
- Brig sloop (ブライグスループ Buraigu Surūpu?): A battle ship that relies on the skills of the navigator. The Thousand Sunny is a brig sloop.
- Icebreaker (砕氷船 Saihyōsen?): A ship specialized in navigating through ice-covered waters. The pirate Whitey Bay is the captain of such a ship.
- Submarine (潜水艦 Sensuikan?): A watercraft primarily designed to operate underwater, running on engines instead of sails for propulsion. The Polar Tang is a submarine.
- Tanker (タンカー Tankā?): An usually large ship utilized for storage or transportation of gases and liquids. The Donquixote Pirates owned a tanker with the purpose of shipping containers of SAD from Punk Hazard to Dressrosa.
Ships by Status
Pirate ships can have various sizes, reaching from very large examples such as the Moby Dick and Thriller Bark to small rafts, like the one used by the Blackbeard Pirates and the Hitsugibune used by Dracule Mihawk.
Many pirate ships have figureheads that resemble certain animals (the Going Merry is a prominent example for this). Usually, the motif of the respective pirate flag is printed on the main sail, and the figurehead also reflects the crew's symbol. Due to their combat purpose, almost every pirate ship has several cannons on board.
According to Tom, there are no specific plans for a pirate ship. A ship is a ship, and how it is used by its crew determines whether it is a pirate ship or a marine ship. This was demonstrated when the Going Merry, which was meant to be a personal luxury ship for Kaya, was given to the Straw Hat Pirates, turning it into a pirate ship; or when Krieg first stole a Marine ship and turned it into his first pirate ship, then attempted to take the ocean-going restaurant Baratie into his new flagship.
- Further information: Marine Ships
Marine ships are operated by members of the Marines. Those ships bear the organizations' symbol (a stylized seagull) on their front sails.
Like pirate ships, there are different types of Marine Ships with varying sizes, though most of them are bigger than the average pirate ship. The Marines also have ice-breakers for reaching islands in colder climates. Furthermore, they have a vast amount of cannons and other weaponry on board. Unlike on most pirate ships, the cannons can be adjusted for a better aiming. The steering wheel is located on the foredeck of the ship.
Government ships are vessels employed by the World Government. They are recognizable by the World Government's insignia (five circles connected by a cross), which they bear on the front sail.
Government ships are primarily operated by government agents like the Cipher Pol. The World Nobles also travel in those ships, in which case, it may feature a personalized, fancy figurehead. The judicial ships are another example of a government ship, being sea-faring courthouses.
Merchant ships are vessels that tend to carry goods for selling.
While no merchant ship has made a proper appearance in the actual story yet, their presence has been mentioned several times. Mont Blanc Noland wrote in his logbook that his crew purchased a Waver from one such ship. Brook also came across a merchant ship during his time with the Rumbar Pirates, buying a tone dial that he eventually used to record the last song his former crew ended up playing before their demise.
Cargo ships are vessels primarily intended to transport large quantities of something.
The SAD Tanker belonging to the Donquixote Pirates was an example of such ship, travelling between Punk Hazard and Dressrosa in order to deliver containers of SAD produced in the former island to be refined at the SMILE Factory located in the latter island. The Sea Train Puffing Tom was also originally built for the purpose of facilitating trade between Water 7 and neighboring islands.
An evacuation ship is a vessel intended for times of emergency. Their purpose is to allow civilians within a certain location to escape an incoming threat.
The most notable example of an evacuation ship in the series is the one used by the citizens of Ohara as the Buster Call was summoned to destroy their homeland, as a result of the forbidden activities practiced by the country's scholars. Nico Robin was denied access onto the ship due to the other citizens' fear and hatred of her. In a shocking maneuver, the then vice-admiral Sakazuki ordered the destruction of the ship and thus the deaths of everyone aboard, reasoning that one of the island's scholars could have snuck onto the vessel in order to escape.
A Ghost Ship (ゴースト
Several ghost ships have been encountered by the Straw Hat Pirates during their journey at sea. When the Dreadnaught Sabre first returned from the Grand Line, the chefs of Baratie claimed that it looked like a ghost ship due to its damaged state.
One ghost ship was a massive vessel that fell from the sky several hundreds of years after the death of its crew. The ship, identified as the St. Briss, was eventually investigated by the Straw Hat Pirates and a salvaging team lead by Masira, leading to the discovery of a map that confirmed the existence of Skypiea.
Another ghost ship was encountered upon entrance in the Florian Triangle. This ship was the former ship of the Rumbar Pirates, where all of its crew were dead save one: the former musician Brook, who lived alone due to the power of his Yomi Yomi no Mi reviving him after his death.
Immediately after encountering the Rumbar ship, the Straw Hats encountered a "literal" ghost ship called Thriller Bark. Lead by Warlord of the Sea Gecko Moria and his Mysterious Four, the ship was home to a menagerie of creatures including zombies revived by his Kage Kage no Mi and ghosts created from the Horo Horo no Mi of Moria crewmate Perona. Aside from Moria and Perona, Absalom and Doctor Hogback were the only literally living beings on the ship aside from all the victims, zombies and ghosts.
While the Flying Dutchman shares the appearance of a ghost ship, and shares the name of a famous real life ghost ship, its crew are very much alive.
- While privateers were given their ships by their countries, many pirates actually stole their ships, or refused to return them when their privateering license was annulled. It was common practice for pirate crews to swap ships when it suited them, getting a bigger and better ship than the one they sailed on; some may even have kept an extra ship to increase their fleet and threat size. However, pirates often simply burned ships of ill-favored owners and towns.
- Culture Express - A recent case of a ghost ship.
- Ghost ship – Wikipedia article about Ghost Ships.
- Mary Celeste – Wikipedia article about Mary Celeste, arguably the most famous ghost ship of all.