Ships and shipping

Find technical information, pictures, logs and histories of passenger and cargo ships.


Lloyd's Registers:

  • PortCities Southampton has digitised pages from Lloyd's Register of Ships from 1930 to 1945. You can search key data fields including ship name, year of build, weight and any former names of the vessel concerned.  Most years of Lloyd's Register from 1768 up to 1900 are available on Google books as scanned image files.  You can also access these scanned versions via the website Books Boxes and Boats.

The Miramar Ship Index: 

  • Based in Wellington, New Zealand, this is an historical database listing both merchant powered ships of about 100 gross register tons and above and naval ships of even smaller tonnage displacement; and also composite, iron & steel sailing ships. Access to the website is subject to registration and a US$20 annual subscription fee. However a free 7-day trial is available.


  • Aims at collecting and disseminating quality and safety-related information on the world's merchant fleet provided to it by holders of such information.  It displays information from public authorities and industry organisations. Ship characteristics and ship management information are the two main parts of a ship record. Registration (free of charge) is required to search databases.

Journeys, shipwrecks, etc.

Australian national shipwreck database

  • indexes all known shipwrecks in Australian waters.

Books Boxes and Boats

  • UK site that includes links to a range of websites about ships and shipping. In particular links to many shipping registers.

Life at Sea: Seafaring in the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1600-1900

  • Bringing together unique primary sources drawn from world-class maritime archives, the Life at Sea database focuses on the individual experiences and personal narratives of seafarers. State Library Victoria Access members (Victorian residents) can use this database from home. 

Log of Logs

  • is a catalogue of logs, journals, shipboard diaries, letters, and all forms of voyage narratives, 1788 to 1988, for Australia and New Zealand and surrounding oceans by Ian Nicholson. 3 vols.

Maritime History Virtual Archives

  • an extensive website on all aspects of maritime history. Its ships section covers "Mainly sailing ships from the second half of the 19th century. Lists of all four and five masted ships and barques; Five to seven masted schooners; Clipper ships." Details include builders, designers, dimensions, owners, captains and details of journeys.


  • provides details of shipping movements for Australia and New Zealand from 1788 to 1968. The lists are far from complete, but provide details that have not been readily available in other places, such as background information about the trip, where available.

  • with an Anglo-American focus, this index will tell you what books or magazines mention specific vessels. It currently contains over 140,000 ship names in its free database and over 2 million citations in its premium access database (subscription required).


  • this is the most comprehensive website for ships around the world. It can help find people on ships' passenger lists. It also has newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions and shipping-line fleet lists. Also includes some passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and South Africa.

Victorian heritage database - Shipwrecks

  • a fully searchable online database containing information about Victorian Heritage Places and Precincts, including statements of significance, physical descriptions and historical information. Shipwreck information is often more extensive than that which appears in the Australian national shipwreck database.

Live maps

AIS Live Ships Map provides free real-time information about ship movements and ports. The system is based on AIS (Automatic Identification System). As from December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) required all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details.

International Maritime Bureau Live Piracy Map shows all the piracy and armed robbery incidents reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre during 2012. Zoom-in and click on the pointers to view more information of an individual attack.


Sophia Jane, Australia's first steamer. Painting by C. Dickson Gregory; H13781

Keyword search using the name of the ship followed by the word ship in the following online websites:

CLIP - Crew List Index Project

CLIP is a not-for-profit volunteer project, set up to assist research into the records of British merchant seafarers of the late 19th and early 20th century.The site provides information about the records of British seafarers and ships, and access to the CLIP maritime database

Albion [ship]. Watercolour by G. F. Gregory, 1867; H91.151/30