Civilian Transports are a common type of civilian space craft utilized for the movement of personnel and colonists across interstellar distances. The Department of the Starfleet also frequently charters such transports for the transfer of Starfleet personnel between various duty assignments.
Civilian transports are subdivided into passenger transports and colony transports; the difference being that a colony transport is designed to be dismantled upon reaching its destination for use as a initial colony base. Civilian transports also typically carry no armaments or defense systems.
Military transports are operated by the Department of the Starfleet for the transport of Security Regiments and Federation Marines to participate in planetary invasions; such transports are usually maintained in a “lay-up” status until needed, and do not maintain a full crew unless actively deployed.
Military transports are classified by hull number only, and typically do not carry a vessel name; all military transports begin with the hull designation “MT” followed by a hull number (i.e. MT-509). Starfleet occasionally uses military transports for the routine transfer of Starfleet personnel, but only to remote locations where charter civilian transports are unavailable.
Freighters are the backbone of Federation commerce and are owned and operated by private shipping companies with regular transport routes and full time crews between twenty and fifty personnel. Freighters are mainly designed to carry bulk cargo and carry minimal defensive systems.
Freighters are among the most numerous class of merchant vessel, with hundreds of various types in existence across Federation, planetary, and alien shipping companies. Freighters are designed to carry upwards of thirty thousand tons of bulk cargo, but may also occasionally be used to transport personnel from one location to another. Known in the vernacular as “booking passage on a freighter”, such transport is typically undesirable to the lack of amenities onboard space freighters.
Cargo Vessels are slightly more compact versions of standard freighters, usually designed to carry more delicate or perishable goods. Cargo vessels are also manned by smaller crews, typically no more than twenty personnel.
Cargo vessels are equipped with defensive shielding and slightly faster engines than standard freighters. The Department of the Starfleet frequently contracts cargo vessels to deliver goods and supplies to distant starbases and outposts as well as transport dilithium crystals from mining facilities to Starfleet shipyards. Cargo vessels may also be contracted to ferry Starfleet personnel between assignments, but only in the event that a civilian transport is unavailable.
Tankers are large vessels which carry deuterium fuel from space refineries to the various Starfleet shipyards throughout the Federation. Tankers may also rendezvous with starships in deep space for “underway refueling operations”.
Tankers are also designed to carry anti-matter material, separated from the standard fuel tanks in special containers designed for anti-matter transport. Tankers typically have no defensive systems and are manned by crews between fifteen and twenty five personnel.
Civilian science vessels number as the second most numerous civilian space craft in operation, after standard freighters. Civilian science vessels vary greatly in appearance and design depending on the operating agency sponsoring the vessel’s scientific mission.
Beginning in the 2220s, Starfleet began converting older Oberth class science vessels into a civilian equivalent for use by civilian researches. Weapons systems were removed, more scientific equipment installed, and the crew capacity reduced to operate with less than forty personnel. The converted science vessels received registries of “SS” (instead of “USS”) and were placed entirely under the operational authority of the United Earth Space Probe Agency.
Hospital ships are a special class of vessel operated by the Department of the Starfleet for deployment of Starfleet hospital units to emergency or crisis areas in order to provide urgent medical care and establish field medical facilities. Starfleet hospital ships are operated by a civilian merchant crew and maintained in “lay-up” until deployed to deal with a medical emergency.
Once activated, a Starfleet hospital ship is capable of embarking an entire Starfleet hospital command of between 800 to 1200 personnel, complete with appropriate onboard medical facilities.
Shuttle Carriers, also known as “Fleet Carriers” are a special class of vessel operated by the Department of the Starfleet for space and planetary assault missions requiring the deployment of one or several Starfleet Shuttle Squadrons.
Shuttle carriers are operated by a civilian crew and are only deployed for use in either active or training operations. During periods of non-use, shuttle carriers are maintained in “lay-up” with no crew at a Starfleet shipyard or Starbase.