Hi Paul, Kyle and Foggy
I agree that these are important issues.
Advanced Search shows we can use IMO, Pennant no, MMSI, and Call Sign as alternative keys for searching. I hope we could use any of these to find an image that was uploaded with the data.
Ken has said the Pennant Number box was introduced to make it easy to be able to find the ship you are looking for and as you will know the number is mostly prominently displayed on the ship However, the display on the ship is not always the full Pennant number. Often it does not include the alphabetic characters. See the Chinese, United States, Australian and Japanese examples below.
Different Navies use a variety of formats for Pennant (or Pendant) number, and they are sometimes not easy to find on the web. It would be less difficult for members, and give a consistent result, if the site required that the characters prominently displayed on the ship were used for our purposes.
I am surprised that data in the IMO box is added by program to the Title whereas we are asked to enter Pennant numbers in both the Pennant number box and the Title box. Manually entering the same data twice is usually not considered good data input practice. If the Pennant number box could be used as one of the Search options, then Pennant number would not be needed in the Title which could be limited to the Country designator and vessel name, as generally used.
PLAN MIANYANG FFG 525http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1183936
USS MCCAMPBELL DDG85http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1346714
HMAS DARWIN FFG04http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1446302
AGB 5003 SHIRASEhttp://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1079501