How do I format the name of a ship in MLA style?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

Names of ships, as well as names of aircraft and spacecraft, are italicized in MLA style. If the name has a prefix, such as USS or HMS, do not italicize the prefix and do not punctuate the prefix with periods.

The Pequod is one of the most famous ships in fiction, appearing in Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick.

The HMS Victory was the flagship when the British Royal Navy defeated the French and Spanish navies at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb was the Enola Gay.

In 1986 the Challenger space shuttle exploded over Cape Canaveral, Florida.