Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters N & O

Jun 06, 2023 · 8 mins read ·

Fun Stuff, Life at Sea
A female officer on the deck of a ship

Welcome to the ninth blog post in our series covering maritime terms and nautical phrases which are based on our website’s shipping glossary. If you’ve ever wanted to know what some of the weird and wonderful expressions used by seafarers and other people working in the maritime industry mean, this is the blog for you.

In this post we’re looking at nautical terms beginning with the letters N and O, but we’ve got plenty more for you to discover. For example: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter AMaritime Terms That Begin with the Letters G, H and IShipping Terms that Begin with the Letters U, V and W and Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters X, Y and Z

But for this post, let’s narrow it down a little and look at shipping words that start with N and O. Let’s do this:

Nautical terms that begin with the letter N

National Flag
The national flag is the flag flown by a vessel to show which nationality she is sailing under.

Navigation Mark
Also known as a sea mark, beacon and seamark, a navigation mark is an aid that is fixed to the shore (i.e. a lighthouse) or to the seabed to help navigators and pilots identify the approximate position of a maritime channel or hazard to allow them safe passage of their vessel. 

Neo Bulk Cargo
Neo Bulk Cargo is made up of one type of goods that have been prepackaged and transported in defined load units - such as wood pulp bales or scrap metal. Neo bulk cargo is handled as a general cargo but it is not loaded into a container. It is a subcategory of general / bulk cargo.

Read more: Nautical terms That Begin with the Letter B

Neopanamax
Neopanamax, also called New Panamax, is a term that relates to the size of a vessel, whether it’s a container ship (Neopanamax Container), a bulker (Neopanamax Bulker) or a tanker (Neopanamax Tanker). It means that the vessel is able to transit the now-widened Panama Canal.

New Panamax
New Panamax, also called Neopanamax, is a term that relates to the size of a vessel, whether it’s a container ship (New Panamax Container), a bulker (New Panamax Bulker) or a tanker (New Panamax Tanker). It means that the vessel is able to transit the now-widened Panama Canal. 

Nautical terms that begin with the letter O

OBO Ship
Short for ore-bulk-oil, the OBO ship or OBO carrier is a multipurpose vessel which transports ore, heavy dry bulk goods, and oil.

Read more: Nautical terms That Begin with the Letter C

Officer
An Officer is any licensed member of the ship's crew. A licensed mariner is a seafarer who holds a license from a maritime authority enabling them to hold senior officer-level positions aboard a vessel.

Oil Record Book
The Oil Record Book is a book or log kept by the Master of an oil tanker in which every discharge or leakage or spillage of oil must be recorded.

Oil Tanker
An oil tanker is a vessel that has been designed for the transportation of oil in bulk. An Oil Tanker’s cargo space consists of several or many tanks and tankers load their cargo by gravity from the shore or by shore pumps and discharge it using their own onboard pumps. 

Read more: Nautical terms That Begin with the Letter D

Oiler
An Oiler is an unlicensed crew member who works in the engine room /department in this entry level cargo ship job. The Oiler greases and oils bearings and moving parts of the main engine and auxiliaries. 

However, the majority of these tasks are now done automatically and it is the oiler’s responsibility to ensure that everything is running correctly. 

Open Registry
Also known as ‘Flag of Necessity’ or ‘Flag of Convenience’ an Open Registry refers to flagship registry systems in some countries that allow vessel owners to register their ship under the flag of that country.

This is normally done so that the shipowner can take advantage of favorable laws or rates that their own country does not have.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters J, K & L

Ordinary Seaman
An Ordinary Seaman is a member of the Deck Department. They are a rank lower than an Able Seaman but will still be expected to know the ins and outs of their job. 

An OS’s duties and responsibilities include cleaning and maintenance, supervising lower ranking deck crew, and assisting with operations such as docking, undocking, line handling and the loading and unloading of cargo. 

Read more: Nautical terms That Begin with the Letters E and F

Ore Carrier
An ore carrier is a vessel designed for the transportation of ore. Ore has a high density therefore ore carriers have a relatively high center of gravity to prevent them from rolling in heavy seas.

Ore-Oil Carrier
Similar to an OBO ship, which carries ore, bulk goods and oil, an ore-oil carrier or oil-bulk carrier transports either oil or ore in bulk.

Outfall Buoy
An outfall buoy, or outfall mark, is a buoy that marks where a drain or sewer discharges into the sea. 

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters Q & R

Overtonnaging
Overtonnaging is a term used to refer to a situation when there are too many ships overall, or in a particular area or sector, for the amount of available cargo.

And there you have it - some shipping terms and words that you may or may not have known the meaning of before reading this blog post! Have you got anything to add to any of our definitions? Want to see some other maritime words beginning with S or Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter T?

Think we’ve missed something out? Why not let us know on our social media pages? You can find (and follow!) us at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Read the previous article in this series: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter M 

Read the next article in this series: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter P

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.

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