In Firefly, Allied ships have the prefix IAV, but is there a similar prefix (like MV or SS) for merchant space ships like Serenity?

  • 2
    In the real world, naval vessels have prefixes like USS and HMS while private ships do not. Aug 25, 2021 at 14:42
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    I beieve that British steam ships have the prefix SS and British oil powered ships have the prefix MV for Motor Vessel. Aug 25, 2021 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


Looking at the ships documents, there is no prefix for ships like Serenity that are licensed for cargo.

Serenity Ship's Documents Image of documents reproduced from Firefly: A Celebration (Titan Books, ISBN 9781781161685)

According to Commander Harken, however, there are "No mandatory registration markings on the bow." (Firefly: Bushwacked) which implies something other than just the name of the ship is required to be displayed and I woud have expected that to be on ship's documents as well as the bow if required by law.

We do get a look at another ship called the Brutus in the pilot episode. Formerly a liner but now in the passenger and cargo business, this ship does not seem to display registration markings either. Brutus

The only other number I can find seems to be the equivalent of a car's VIN or chassis number, 03-K64-FF, which does not resemble a pre-fix.

Serenity's ship number

  • 1
    Could you explain where these documents are from?
    – Valorum
    Aug 26, 2021 at 6:35
  • 1
    Thanks @Valorum - answer edited with source reference added.
    – Kerr Avon
    Aug 28, 2021 at 0:41

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