The acronym RMS short for “Royal Mail Steamer”, or “Royal Mail Ship” when people are discussing naval or maritime history or antique ships, you may hear the term “RMS” come up in conversation. RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship or Royal Mail Steamer and refers to a specific class of boats that were once heavily used by the United Kingdom.
The RMS designation was introduced in 1840 for ships that were responsible for carrying mail for the British Royal Mail system. Ships that were given the designation were allowed to fly specially designed flags and often had the letters “RMS” before their names in print. When the RMS class of ships was first developed, the steamer ship was the primary way for mail like letters, postcards and packages to be carried from the United Kingdom to international destinations and from other countries to the United Kingdom. Once the airplane was developed, RMS ships were used less and less for carrying mail.
Today, there are only four remaining RMS ships still in use. The first is the RMS St Helena. This ship carries mail to the British territory of Saint Helena, which is located off of the shores of Africa in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The RMS Segwun no longer carries mail and instead is used as a passenger ship in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. Another RMS ship that is now a passenger vessel is the Scillonian III, which carries people to islands in Sicily, Italy. The last ship is the RMS Queen Mary 2 that carries passengers from the UK to New York. The ship was commissioned in 2004, making it the newest of the RMS ships.
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