Freighters and Cargoships

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Lt.Juliet, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Since a Norway-class ship was explicitly shown participating in the battle against the Borg in ST:FC, I think we can assume it is exactly what it looks like: a Starfleet vessel, no more, no less.
     
  2. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    My guess is Miranda, Intrepid, Nebula, and Akira are all logistics ships which carry supplies in times of peace. In war, they can be armored and used as second-rate backup ships. Some of them might even be garbage scows
     
  3. Johnny

    Johnny Commander Red Shirt

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    Not that I can help with any on screen evidence, but I do sometimes wonder about the economics of the the federation.

    ie: people are going to want to get around but don't have their own ships, and the federation don't have the capacity to move mass civilian population, so some enterprising young engineer applies for three ships to be built that he can use to ferry people from one planet to another. And there's a private venture.

    Also, the cabbage grown on another planet is really tasty and they need to ship it around. they won't do it themselves so they contact mr enterprising engineer, and he uses part of his cargo space for shipping cabbages.

    All of a sudden it's taking off and there's a fleet of cargo ships that are privately 'owned/used'! :) Shame we never see them.

    I like the idea that people do things because they love it! It makes me all fuzzy! :p

    I always figured that starfleet ships would ship starfleet cargo around. It would seem unusual to ship around civilian people/things unless in emergencies.
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Yep, Starfleet ships in general also double as cargo/supply ships. This was done alot in TOS and in TNG we still see the E-D making deliveries.

    Civilian/commercial freighters, cargo ships, cruise liners etc exist but they're not the focus of most Trek series and thus we don't see them as often, IMHO.
     
  5. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    That's the one. Aside from very little being officially known about the class, I was looking for an in-universe explanation for her design. A big-ass container for cargo would fit right in that spot. Otherwise, the design of this class doesn't make a helluva lot of sense.
     
  6. Lt.Juliet

    Lt.Juliet Ensign Red Shirt

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    How are those starbases built? Wouldn't that need a lot of resources and therefore ships to carry them in the first place?
     
  7. AverageWriter

    AverageWriter Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I guess we don't see many Federation Freighters because the writers think they're not interesting enough. :(
    We saw a few of them in the Animated Series like the Antares. In TNG I think the Lalo was a Freighter, too, but I could be wrong about that.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Could be built by a mix of different vessels carrying construction materials, equipment and various supplies, both Starfleet and civilian. Even the Enterprise-D was used to make a cargo run to Deep Space Nine to deliver the station's initial batch of runabouts.
     
  9. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Transport of cargo in ships like Enterprise would actually seem to weigh in favor of having dedicated cargo vessels. While it might work for relatively small volumes of stores or emergency situations to be shipped on a cruiser, problems would come when the vessels' multi-purpose roles conflict. If you need X-cargo at Y-location at Z-time, but it is shipping on a cruiser that is needed for a tactical situation at location-A immediately, that doesn't work.

    It has also been real-world experience that military logistics is best handled at a high enough level that it can be prioritized without regard to "local" considerations by individual commanders. The US Transportation Command today is a unified command with full control of its own assets and a four-star commander who answers only to the Secretary of Defense and President. Unless Enterprise changes chains-of-command for transportation missions, it seems unlikely that vessels like her would be used as transports on anything more than an occasional ad hoc basis.
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    An interesting possibility that Starfleet might charge freight costs for carrying civilian shipping into places where private ships don't operate, or operate rarely.

    Like in Dagger of the Mind, cargo going to and from the Tantalus colony.

    Add to the list of freighter the Astral Queen. Passager ships do carry freight, and freighters occasional carry passagers.

    :)
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Easily solved by sending a different cruiser to location-A, though.
     
  12. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    It would be, but we have seen a number of situations where Enterprise had to be diverted from her current mission for something more urgent, and a few times when it was explicitly stated she was the only ship available. So the problem would not always be so easily solved.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's a problem inherent with all deep-space vessels.
     
  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    We don't really know how often other classes of vessels are diverted from their normal duties. But if you want cargo to arrive at its destination on a reliable schedule, it makes most sense to send it in a vessel dedicated to that, not one that is primarily tasked with less predictable duties like territorial defense, policing, peacekeeping, diplomacy and so on.
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know about that. I think you really would want to have a ship that could do just about anything when the need arises. I do think Starfleet has some specialized vehicles, but the bulk of the fleet may consist of multimission ships that can carry out a wide range of jobs for Starfleet and the Federation when called upon.
     
  16. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    There are a few things to consider, which would likely apply to both 23rd and 24th centuries equally...

    In TOS "The Ultimate Computer", Mr. Spock tells us this upon sighting a "freighter":

    This indicates that automated interstellar vehicles are employed in the TOS era to convey needed raw materials (and perhaps other commodities and maybe even personnel). It also indicates that some such vehicles are manned, others are robots. (Later dialogue makes it clear such crafts could easily be manned, and that the use of the term "robot ship" makes it clear that the concept of the Woden being automated is not unusual, either.) It is not clear if the Woden is a Federation vessel, an Earth vessel, or even an allied vessel; all we know for certain is that she is that Starfleet keeps a record of her registry. We can infer from this that the Woden is either an automated Federation starship or that she is simply known to the Federation because she is employed by one of the Federation member-worlds. We do not know if her work has a military or a civilian purpose, but the casual way she is recognized by M-5 strongly suggests that such vessels (manned and automated) are widely employed and have been for many years. You can take this with a grain of salt, but this logic is being applied from canon material.

    In TNG's "Unnatural Selection", the Enterpise-D encounters a call for help from the U.S.S. Lantree, a Federation starship-of-the-line that is specifically identified as a supply vessel. (Another name for a "transport".)

    This establishes clearly that manned Federation starships-of-the-line are employed for transport/freight functions in the 24th century. This would seem to retroactively reinforce the notion in canon that Federation starships-of-the-line, both manned and automated, are employed for this purpose.

    In July of 2008, I started a thread in the Trek Tech forum titled "Warptugs and cargo pods", loosely based on the TOS sighting of the Woden and Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's notion of a Class I Transport/Tug Starship from his 1975 Star Fleet Technical Manual. The thread included discussion, art and model exhibition of what military (and civilian) transport vessels carrying cargo pods might look like and how they would be used. In was all very loosely derived from canon, but can be traced back to mentions of the Astral Queen, the Woden, the Lantree, and other instances.

    It is my belief (and my speculation) that the TREK Universe had a vast, mostly unseen network of frieghter/transport/"supply ship" vessels, some Starfleet starships-of-the-line, mostly not, some manned, most robotic. Some were self-contained vessels like the Lantree. Others would be warptugs piggybacking cargo containers. The collection of these vessels formed a kind of interstellar railroad/pony express/FedEx/Post Office between the various trading worlds, colonies, space stations, starships and starbases. While this speculation itself isn't canon, it is strongly inferred from numerous references sprinkled throughout the franchise.

    Some folks had a hard time buying into my idea that this "freighter" infrastructure existed prior to TOS, but it is the only way I could figure out how the human race became networked with other worlds prior to the Warp 2 threshold being crossed by the NX Project prototypes.

    As far as I'm concerned, these "interstellar railroad" vessels were being employed prior to ENT and well after TNG. We just never saw this network explicitly in action.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  17. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I think this makes a lot of sense.

    And Enterprise did establish that a freighter network was in place prior to TOS. Travis's family was a crew on such a ship. I think there was an episode about such a ship... umm... "Fortunate Son'...? maybe.

    I'm not really an Enterprise fan so I don't really remember.

    --Alex
     
  18. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    I'd imagine the automated freighters are mostly ships that carry non-time sensitive stuff on regular routes. Basically ore freighters and raw deuterium tankerage and the like, hauling huge quantities of stuff from point A to point B in a monotonous route.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But we also saw the Enterprise break away from a rescue mission to make a delivery of time sensitive cargo. The cargo of medical supplies going to Makus Three.

    :)
     
  20. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    It would be a foregone conclusion that, at least during the ENT era, the NX-01 Starship Enterprise was the fastest Earth vessel in existence. (And, for quite a while during ENT, the only Warp 5 Earth ship in existence.) So if there was a huge emergency and some precious cargo had to be delivered immediately, NX-01 Enterprise was "the only game in town".

    During TOS "Friday's Child", Sulu commented that "the best a freighter could do is Warp 2"; so it is possible that civilian ships like the Dierdre and the Woden were Warp 2 (at best) vessels. (Interesting aside about the Deirdre; the fake Klingon distress call that fooled Scotty seemed so believable to him, including the part about a convoy of ships under attack and some damaged. This suggests that "freighters"-- perhaps warptugs --are low-speed transport vessels that travel in convoys.)