Updated: Mar 13
Tellar, Starfleet Complex, Building C
HQ Staff: ~ 500
Commerce Transport, Auxiliary Service
To oversee the Federation's supply lines and ensure the flow of goods in times of crisis
Starfleet Merchant Service, also known informally as the Merchant Marines, is the department of Starfleet that operates transports, including freighters, tankers and passenger transports.
Similar to branches of Starfleet such as the Daystrom Institute, both civilians and Starfleet personnel serve in the Merchant Service. The majority of the Merchant Service is comprised of civilian crewed vessels which take their assignments from Starfleet but do not operate on the strict standard expected of Starfleet members. These ships are considered civilian, bearing the S.S. registry, and do not abide by Starfleet General Orders save those pertaining to all citizens of the Federation (i.e. General Order 1). For example, civilian vessels flying the banner of the Merchant Service do not have to respond to distress calls which vessels crewed by Starfleet personnel are required to answer under General Order 6.
Starfleet Merchant Service makes use of both specialized transport classes like the Huron-class freighter and Anchorage-class tanker as well as ships from other departments of Starfleet that have been retired to less intensive roles. A number of old Miranda and Sydney-class ships currently serve in the Merchant Service with civilian crews.
The Huron is an improvement of the Antares-class freighter in use by the Federation through the mid-late 24th century. Aesthetically, the Huron is almost identical to the Antares, but the ship systems make use of newer technology and the hull plating is significantly tougher in light of the more unstable political climate of the 2400s. Hurons have become one of the staple freighter designs in the modern Federation and are employed by independent traders and Starfleet Merchant Service alike. Those flying the banners of Starfleet are often retrofitted with around two or more phaser arrays.
The Caravan is a light freighter which shares many of its design elements with other Federation freighters such as the Antares and Huron, but is smaller and more maneuverable. It is primarily used by those who need to ferry materials but in smaller amounts than average traders, or by Starfleet Merchant Service for similar purposes. In times of crisis, Starfleet occasionally utilizes Caravans as blockade runners due to the speed and maneuverability of the class.
The Anchorage is the main tanker design used by Starfleet in the 25th century. Its primary purpose is to transport liquid or gaseous fuels such as deuterium.