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A hulk is a
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Hulk may be used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, an abandoned wreck or shell, or to refer to an old ship that has had its
rigging Bermuda rigged sloop at Convict Bay, Bermuda, circa 1879 Rigging comprises the system of ropes, cables and chains, which support a sailing ship or sail boat's masts—''standing rigging'', including Shroud (sailing), shrouds and Stays (nautic ...
or internal equipment removed, retaining only its buoyant qualities. The word hulk also may be used as a verb: a ship is "hulked" to convert it to a hulk. The verb was also applied to crews of Royal Navy ships in dock, who were sent to the receiving ship for accommodation, or "hulked". Hulks have a variety of uses such as housing, prisons, salvage pontoons, gambling sites, naval training, or cargo storage. In the days of sail, many hulls served longer as hulks than they did as functional ships. Wooden ships were often hulked when the hull structure became too old and weak to withstand the stresses of sailing. More recently, ships have been hulked when they become obsolete or when they become uneconomical to operate.


Sheer hulk

A sheer hulk (or shear hulk) was used in shipbuilding and repair as a floating crane in the days of
sailing ship A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on Mast (sailing), masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a variety of sail plans that propel sailing ships, employing Square rig, square-rigged or Fore-an ...

sailing ship
s, primarily to place the lower
mast Mast, MAST or MASt may refer to: Engineering * Mast (sailing) , a vertical spar on a sailing ship * Flagmast, a pole for flying a flag * Guyed mast , a structure supported by guy-wires * Mooring mast , a structure for docking an airship * Radio m ...
s of a ship under construction or repair. Booms known as
sheers Shear legs, also known as sheers, shears, or sheer legs, are a form of two-legged lifting device. Shear legs may be permanent, formed of a solid A-frame and supports, as commonly seen on land and the floating sheerleg Image:2005-10-29, Stralsund, ...
were attached to the base of a hulk's lower masts or beam, supported from the top of those masts. Blocks and tackle were then used in such tasks as placing or removing the lower masts of the vessel under construction or repair. These lower masts were the largest and most massive single timbers aboard a ship, and erecting them without the assistance of either a sheer hulk or land-based
masting sheerImage:Mastekranen Holmen.jpg, Mastekranen, Frederik V's Masting Sheers at Holmen, Copenhagen, Holmen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Built 1746 A masting sheer, sheers, shears or masting crane is a specialised shipyard crane, intended for placing tall masts on ...
was extremely difficult. The concept of sheer hulks originated with the Royal Navy in the 1690s, and persisted in Britain until the early nineteenth century. Most sheer hulks were decommissioned warships; ''Chatham'', built in 1694, was the first of only three purpose-built vessels. There were at least six sheer hulks in service in Britain at any time throughout the 1700s. The concept spread to France in the 1740s with the commissioning of a sheer hulk at the port of Rochefort. By 1807 the Royal Navy had standardised sheer hulk crew numbers to comprise a boatswain, mate and six seamen, with larger numbers coming aboard only when the sheers were in use.


Accommodation hulk

An accommodation hulk is a hulk used as housing, generally when there is a lack of quarters available ashore. An operational ship may be used for accommodation, but a hulk can accommodate more personnel than the same hull would accommodate as a functional ship. For this role, the hulk is often extensively modified to improve living conditions. Receiving hulks and prison hulks are specialized types of accommodation hulks. During World War II, purpose-built
barracks ship A barracks ship or barracks barge, or in civilian use accommodation vessel or accommodation ship, is a ship or a non-self-propelled barge containing a superstructure of a type suitable for use as a temporary barracks Barracks are usually a grou ...
s were used in this role.


Receiving hulk

A receiving ship is a
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
used in harbour to house newly recruited
sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles used in water, including boats, ship A ship is a large watercraft that travel ...

sailor
s before they are assigned to a ship's crew. In the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
, the use of
impressment Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. European navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of ...
to collect sailors resulted in the problem of preventing escape of the unwilling "recruits". The receiving ship was part of the solution; it was difficult to get off the ship without being detected, and most seamen of the era did not know how to swim. Receiving ships were typically older vessels that could still be kept afloat, but were obsolete or no longer seaworthy. The practice was especially common in the age of wooden ships, since the old hulls would remain afloat for many years in relatively still waters after they had become too weak to withstand the rigors of the open ocean. Receiving ships often served as floating hospitals as many were assigned in locations without shore-based station hospitals. Often the afloat surgeon would take up station on the receiving ship.


Prison hulk

A prison hulk was a hulk used as a floating prison. They were used extensively in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
, the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
producing a steady supply of ships too worn-out to use in combat, but still afloat. Their widespread use was a result of the large number of French sailors captured during the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
, and continued throughout the
Napoleonic Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
and
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gr ...
a half-century later. By 1814 there were eighteen prison hulks operating at Portsmouth, sixteen at Plymouth and ten at Chatham. Prison hulks were also convenient for holding civilian prisoners, commencing in Britain in 1776 when the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
prevented the sending of convicts to North America. Instead, increasingly large numbers of British convicts were held aboard hulks in the major seaports and landed ashore in daylight hours for manual labour such as harbor dredging. From 1786 prison hulks were also used as temporary ''gaols'' (jails) for convicts being
transported ''Transported'' is an Australian convict melodrama film directed by W. J. Lincoln. It is considered a lost film. Plot In England, Jessie Grey is about to marry Leonard Lincoln but the evil Harold Hawk tries to force her to marry him and she woun ...
to
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
.


Powder hulk

A powder hulk was a hulk used to store
gunpowder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). The ...
. The hulk was a floating warehouse which could be moved as needed to simplify the transfer of gunpowder to warships. Its location, away from land, also reduced the possible damage from an explosion.


Salvage pontoon

Hulks were used in pairs during salvage operations. By passing heavy cables under a wreck and connecting them to two hulks, a wreck could be raised using the lifting force of the tide or by changing the buoyancy of the hulks.


Coal hulk

Service as a coal hulk was usually, but not always, a ship's last. Of the fate of the fast and elegant
clipper ships A clipper was a type of mid-19th-century merchant A merchant is a person who trades in commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in business ...

clipper ships
, William L. Carothers wrote, "Clippers functioned well as
barges A barge is a shoal A tidal sandbar connecting the islands of Waya and Wayasewa of the Yasawa Islands, Fiji In oceanography Oceanography (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in a ...
; their fine ends made for little resistance when under tow ... The ultimate degradation awaited a barge. There was no way up, only down-- down to the category of coal hulks ... Having strong solid bottoms ... they could handle the great weight of bulk coal which filled their holds. It was a grimy, untidy, unglamorous end for any vessel which had seen the glory days." The famed clipper ''
Red Jacket Red Jacket (known as ''Otetiani'' in his youth and ''Sagoyewatha'' eeper Awake''Sa-go-ye-wa-tha'' as an adult because of his oratorical skills) (c. 1750–January 20, 1830) was a Seneca orator and chief of the Wolf clan A clan is a group of ...
'' ended her days as a coaling hulk in the Cape Verde Islands.


Hulks in modern times

Several of the largest former oil tankers have been converted to
floating production storage and offloading Floating may refer to: * a type of dental work performed on horse teeth Horse teeth refers to the dentition of equine species, including horses and donkeys. Equines are both heterodontous and diphyodontous, which means that they have teeth in mor ...
(FPSO) units, effectively very large floating oil storage tanks. '' Knock Nevis'', by some measures the largest ship ever built, served in this capacity from 2004 until 2010. In 2009 and 2010 two of the four
TI-class supertanker The TI class of Oil tanker, supertankers comprises the ships ''TI Africa'', ''TI Asia'', ''TI Europe'' and ''TI Oceania'' (all names as of July 2004), where the "TI" refers to the Oil tanker#Size categories, VLCC tanker pool operator Tankers Intern ...
s, then the largest ships afloat, ''TI Asia'' and ''TI Africa'', were converted to FPSOs.


Other services

A vessel's hulking may not be its final use.
Scuttling Scuttling is the deliberate sinking of a ship by allowing water to flow into the . This can be achieved in several ways—s or hatches can be opened to the sea, or holes may be ripped into the hull with brute force or with s. Scuttling may be per ...
as a
blockship A blockship is a ship deliberately sunk to prevent a river, channel (geography), channel, or canal from being used. It may either be sunk by a navy defending the waterway to prevent the ingress of attacking enemy forces, as in the case of HMS Hood ...
, breakwater,
artificial reef An artificial reef is a human-created underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life Marine life, sea life, or ocean life is the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by p ...
, or recreational dive site may await. Some are repurposed, for example as a
gambling ship A gambling ship is a seagoing vessel of any kind on which gambling Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering something of Value (economics), value ("the stakes") on an Event (probability theory), event with an uncertain outcome wi ...
; others are restored and put to new uses, such as a museum ship. Some even return revitalised to sea. When lumber schooner , "one of only two Pacific Coast steam schooners to be powered by steam turbines," was hulked in 1928, she was moored off Long Beach, California and used as a gambling ship, until a fire of unknown cause finished her off. One vessel rescued from this ignominious end was the
barque A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on Mast (sailing), masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a variety of sail plans that propel sailin ...

barque
''
Polly Woodside ''Polly Woodside'' is a Belfast-built, three-masted, iron-hulled barque, preserved in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia), and forming the central feature of the South Wharf precinct. The ship was originally built in Belfast by William J. Woodside a ...
'', now a museum ship in Melbourne, Australia. Another is the barque , rescued from
Recherche Bay Recherche Bay ( ) is an oceanic embayment, part of which is listed on the National Heritage Register, located on the extreme south-eastern corner of Tasmania Tasmania (; abbreviated as Tas, nicknamed Tassie, xpz, Lutruwita; Palawa kani: ...
in
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atol ...
, now restored and regularly sailing from Sydney, Australia.


See also

*
Barracks ship A barracks ship or barracks barge, or in civilian use accommodation vessel or accommodation ship, is a ship or a non-self-propelled barge containing a superstructure of a type suitable for use as a temporary barracks Barracks are usually a grou ...
*
Blockship A blockship is a ship deliberately sunk to prevent a river, channel (geography), channel, or canal from being used. It may either be sunk by a navy defending the waterway to prevent the ingress of attacking enemy forces, as in the case of HMS Hood ...
*
Britannia Royal Naval College Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), commonly known as Dartmouth, is the naval academy A naval academy is a national institution that provides undergraduate-level education for prospective naval officers. Naval training commonly took place onl ...

Britannia Royal Naval College
*
British prison hulk Prison hulks were decommissioned ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research ...
*
Depot shipA depot ship is an auxiliary ship used as a mobile or fixed base for submarines, destroyers, minesweepers, fast attack craft, landing craft, or other small ships with similarly limited space for maintenance equipment and crew dining, berthing and rel ...
*
Guard ship A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat, which serves its protective role at sea. Royal Navy In the Royal Navy of the eighteenth century, peacetime guard ships were usually ...
* HMS ''Donegal'' (1858) * *
Hospital ship A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating healthcare, medical treatment facility or hospital. Most are operated by the military forces (mostly navy, navies) of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or ...
* Moored training ship


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Hulk (Ship) Ship types