Federation Merchant Marine

I don’t see Starfleet asking a Merchant Marine ship to handle something that they should be doing, however, most of the suggested ideas above would be great. They are also great starting ideas for a possible Space Station campaign.

I might steal a few of those and work on them for my own campaign.

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It depends on which ship is closest to the problem. Just think of an urgent evacuation of a Starfleet outpost because of some desaster, Starfleet would certainly ask any Merchant Marine ship nearby to assist in the rescue attempt instead of waiting a couple of days until a Starfleet ship can handle the problem.

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Also if you are playing just after the Dominion War, Starfleets forces are severely depleted and who knows which other organizations are going to pick up the slack, maybe even as official Starfleet contractors.

Many problems need to be dealt with quickly.

Take a medical crisis. If the FMM ship can be there in a day, and the nearest Starfleet ship is 3 days away, that’s 2 days of synthesizing supplies and/or studying the disease, that can be handed off (if not already cured) when the Starfleet ship arrives. Quite possibly, it could save thousands or even millions.

And, as Shran notes, Starfleet gets soundly thinned out during the Dominion War. But it also got thinned out during the Battle of Wolf 395. 39 ships lost. Of presumably at least several hundred. We also are insinuated that the fleet during the Dominion War was much inflated by rapid-as-possible construction and deployments.

Yes, in Emergency and Disaster relief and War Time, I could see some actions being shifted to the Merchant Marine, like evacuations and re-supply. However, a Merchant Marine ship isn’t going to have as dedicated a medical, science, or security staff as a Starfleet ship.

I could see them providing some relief and transportation of people or supplies, but not full-on treatment or possible curing of a disease. Most Merchant Marine ships would have a rudimentary sickbay compared to Starfleet ships, and not as many people trained in the Medical or Science profession.

This is just my opinion and how I would use them in a game myself (since there will be a contingent of them on the Starbase for my campaign).

That is true. However, it can still make for good story-telling and adventures. You just have to scale down the emergencies appropriately. Maybe not a planet-wide epidemic but a ship with a few people in distress. Essentially challenges which are easily resolved with a Starfleet vessel but not so much for a Merchant Marine ship.

And I believe even under today’s maritime law any sea vessel is required to provide assistance in case of an emergency at sea.

I imagine Merchant Marine stories feature a lot of dealings with Ferengi and other economic powers. Also pirate attacks. Pirates know exactly which shipping routes can be attacked, and they try to avoid Starfleet because they don’t stand a chance against a Federation starship. Same thing is happening today.

If we go by TNG and Voyager, the required tech is generally small, and easily operated by one individual.

If the FMM is a uniformed service (as presented in LUG’s supplement), you can expect a well trained medic, if not a doctor, on most FMM ships. The Engineers are likewise going to be quite capable.

If they’re just merchant spacefarers, then the engineers are still going to be capable of a lot of local solutions… while the medic will be only as trained as needed by regs.

In modern parlance, think of the airline crash on the Hudson River, flown by Sully Sullenberger. The river ferries, immediately diverted to the floating plane to assist. Mariners are that way - everyone turns out to assist the best they can. ANother example is the S.S. CARPATHIA responding to the sinking of the TITANIC. She was first onscene, responding immediately upon hearing the SOS. IIRC, this was the first time “SOS” was used instead of the older “CQ CQ”.)