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A Merchant is an individual or ship engaged primarily in trade and commerce.

Please see the following AAB articles for more information:


Merchant ships range in size from small 200 ton Far and Free Trader class ships to large liners and cargo vessels of up to 10,000 tons displacement. The crews of these ships are also referred to as Merchants.

Ship Doctrine[edit]

Merchant Ship Types include the following:

Armored Merchant (MA) Any starship used for interstellar trade, and commerce that has been set up with weapon systems for defense.
Merchant Liner (MD) Merchant Liners are general-purpose design starships, intended to carry both passengers and freight. They are larger than the Far Traders intended for cargoes over 200 tons and over a dozen passengers
Subsidized Merchant (MG) In subsidized commerce, a local government (or a group of several worlds) agree to subsidize the construction of commercial starships in return for their servicing established routes. Ideally, the route will be profitable, and the subsidy can soon be ended. But, even without profits, the route provides a channel for interstellar trade, helping to provide markets for resources and finished goods as well as, enabling people from different world to share their cultures.

Typically, governments expect subsidized merchants to try to establish routes to make at least marginal profits to diminish the government expense burden. Although individual ports of call may not always provide sales at high margins, at least initially, the ultimate goal is to make the ship self-sufficient. Unfortunately all subsidized merchants are not all profitable and these ships may be recipients of government subsidies for years. Governments have to factor in the benefits derived from the established routes against the costs of maintaining the subsidy. This often becomes the deciding factor with somewhat isolated worlds with limited markets.

Far Trader (ML) A Far Trader is a small starship commonly used for interstellar trade and commerce that is capable of jump 2. Hundreds of variants exist. The typical size equals 200 tons.
Free Trader (ML) A Free Trader is a small starship commonly used for interstellar trade and commerce that is capable of jump 1. Hundreds of variants exist. The typical size equals 200 tons.
Frontier Trader (MS) A heavily armed transport normally doing business with fringe systems.
Merchant Cruiser A generic term applied to vessels specifically assigned to independent missions, the prime objective of which is market discovery and acquisition, either in isolation or in completion with other merchant operators. Design parameters for such vessels usually include a high level of weaponry and auxiliary boats in proportion to their cargo capacity and all possible back-up systems, along with high structural integrity.

Also called an Armed Merchantman, as merchant cruisers are unusally armed. A starship merchant primarily intended for independent cruising in undeveloped trade areas where high survivability is also a design factor.

Representative Classes[edit]

59 Representative Merchant (M) Classes
Class Origin Hull designation Technology level Tonnage Jump Drive
Akkigish Class Third Imperium MLJ 10 400 2
Akkigish Class Third Imperium MLS 10 400 1
Anhk Class Third Imperium M 13 1,200 2
Anjou Class Third Imperium ML 14 440 2
ANNIC NOVA Class Third Imperium MLJ (Non-Standard Classified Type NS18) 12 600 2
Athelstan class Third Imperium M 11 400 1
Basil class Third Imperium M 12 200 1
Bloodwell class Merchant Third Imperium MM 12 1,000 3
Bremen Class Caravel Plavian League M 10 600 1
Burning Sky Class Schooner Kingdom of Peladon MA 10 300 1
Caccil Class Third Imperium M 16 0
Carrack Class Transport Caliphate of Estalia MM 10 800 1
Coriander Class Third Imperium MSF 12 300 2
Dakaar class Freighter Kingdom of Peladon MH 12 1,800 3
Dakaar Class Kingdom of Peladon MM 12 1,800 3
Delta Princess Third Imperium ML 9 100 1
Eakhau Aslan ML 14 400 2
Fanzhienz Zhodani MSJ 9 200 2
Free Trader Third Imperium MSF 12 200 1
Free Trader Distant Fringe ML 11 200 2
Light Trader Distant Fringe ML 9 100 1
Merchant Trader Distant Fringe ML 11 700 2
Provincial Merchant Distant Fringe ML 9 900 1
Provincial Trader Distant Fringe ML 9 400 1
Hellworld Class Merchant Cruiser Sath Alliance MS 11 60,000 2
Hero class Far Trader Ziru Sirka M 10 200 2
Highlander Class Third Imperium MC 13 500 3
Iguna Class Trader High Senate M 11 300 2
Jayhawk Third Imperium MSJ 12 200 2
Khershwan Vargr ML 13 300 2
Khtukaho Aslan MT 14 600 2
Kolomyia Class Merchant Liner Solomani M 12 1,000 3
Kyan Maru Class Third Imperium MS 9 100 1
Leviathan Third Imperium MS 13 1,800 2
Manta Class Third Imperium MS 200
Maorin Junker Maorin Stat M 13 1,000 2
Mauripo Third Imperium ML 15 600 2
Nye Class Caravel Free and Holy Federation of Amil MA 11 600 2
Paya Light Feighter Third Imperium ML 9 100 1
Petty Third Imperium MG 12 400 1
Princess Gunnhilde Class Third Imperium MSJ 13 200 2
RL Class Third Imperium MLS 9 600 1
RL2 Class Third Imperium MLS 11 600 2
Star Third Imperium MA 15 300 3
Sundowner class Solomani ML 14 400 2
Swordfish merchant class Solomani MT 13 600 3
Type 092 Qiongsha Class Fleet Auxiliary Supply Ship Sindalian Empire MSF 13 300 2
Type A Regni Yards Class Third Imperium MLF 12 200 1
Type A2 LSP Class Third Imperium MLJ 13 200 2
Type A3 Trojan Reaches Class Third Imperium MLJ 12 300 2
Type R class Subsidized Merchant MLS 400 1
Type R2 Class Third Imperium MLS 11 500 2
Type TC(S) Class Third Imperium MLF 15 200 1
Type TI Class Third Imperium MMJ 15 2,000 2
Type TJ Class Third Imperium MMJ 15 2,000 6
Venture Class Third Imperium MLJ 10 500 2
Vespir Class Third Imperium MA 2,000
Xeekr'kir! class K'kree MM 13 6,000 2
Zoe Barrett Class Trader Distant Fringe M 12 900 2

References and contributors[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.