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Shipmaster (feminine: Shipmistress)[1][2], alternately spelled Ship Master,[3] is both a term the Covenant use to describe anyone or anything in charge of a single ship (including Humans) as well as an actual office in the Covenant navy.[4]

As described by their title, Sangheili Shipmasters often command a single Covenant Starship. The size of the Starship does not seem to matter, whether a Covenant Frigate or a Reverence-class cruiser.


When referring to a Sangheili, Shipmaster is a Covenant title for a high-ranking Covenant Sangheili who is in command of a single Starship. As per to denote their high-ranking status, most Shipmasters usually have bodyguards, such as a Mgalekgolo pair or a Lance.

While Shipmasters hold their individual power to command, they still fall under the chain of command, taking orders from their Fleet's Fleet Master, Supreme Commander or Imperial Admiral. They also report to the Council of Masters.

From what the UNSC has observed, the Shipmaster of a particular ship gives orders from the command center of their vessel, the rough equivalent of a UNSC Starship's bridge. There they oversee and supervise the running of the ship, and give orders during battle. They command the ship from a platform raised off the deck, surrounded by holoscreens displaying relevant information.

Mutinies for the title of shipmaster could take place on Covenant ships. After killing the previous Shipmaster of the Incorruptible, Major Voro 'Mantakree was given the title of Shipmaster, and then promoted to Zealot so that he could become a Fleet Master, in charge of a task force sent to Onyx.

Armor & Attire[]

HW2 Render-Leader ShipmasterLet'Volir

Let 'Volir's unique Banished armor.

Shipmasters do not appear to have a strict armor or attire guide. Lat 'Ravamee wore a Zealot combat harness,[5] Ardo 'Moretumee donned a General coombat harness,[6] and Rtas 'Vadum used a white Sangheili Combat Harness.[7][8] Some Sangheili Shipmasters were known to wear Doarmir fur cloaks as a sign of status.[9]

Known Rank Holders[]

These, so far, are the only identified Shipmasters/Shipmistresses.






Halo: The Cole Protocol[]

Main article: Halo: The Cole Protocol

A Kig-Yar Shipmistress and a Jiralhanae Shipmaster named Pellius appear in this novel. They plot against Thel 'Vadamee and his Zealot allies, shooting the Sangheili's ship down upon arriving in 23 Librae.  

Halo: Combat Evolved[]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved

Only one Shipmaster is seen, the Shipmaster of the Truth and Reconciliation. He was killed by John-117 during his infiltration of the ship to find and rescue Captain Keyes. As a senior officer, his combat skills are honed, and he makes far fewer tactical mistakes than, for example, Sangheili Minor, but he is still subdued by the Spartan.

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx[]

Main article: Halo: Ghosts of Onyx

Two Shipmasters are mentioned in Ghosts of Onyx. The first is Tano 'Inanraree, and the second is his successor and killer, Voro 'Mantakree. 'Mantakree later was given the office of Fleet Master to pursue the Human controlled Covenant Destroyer Bloodied Spirit.

Halo 3[]

Main article: Halo 3

In Halo 3, Rtas 'Vadum holds the position of Shipmaster. He is seen commanding the Assault Carrier, Shadow of Intent, as well as the Fleet of Retribution which glassed Voi and the surrounding areas.

Halo: Reach[]

Main article: Halo: Reach

In Halo: Reach, there is a Sangheili General, named Ardo 'Moretumee in the control room of the Covenant Corvette, the Ardent Prayer, who is the Shipmaster of this vessel.

Halo: Glasslands[]

The most notable shipmaster in Halo: Glasslands is Jul 'Mdama, although others are mentioned. Without the leadership and recources provided by the San'Shyuum, he is without a ship. In the book, he plots to assassinate Thel 'Vadam for his decision to form a peace treaty with the humans.


  • Though speculated to be the Covenant equivalents to UNSC Navy Captains, they may wield more influence than expected - Shipmasters have been seen in Halo: The Flood and Halo 3 directing relatively small battle groups, instead of single ships (though occasionally in 20th and 21st century fleets, the flagships' captain will command the fleet in the absence of an admiral. It's possible a similar system is used by the Sangheili, or the Covenant in general.)
  • In Halo 3, after the memorial, Rtas 'Vadum hands the Shadow of Intent over to the Arbiter. This may technically give him the position of Shipmaster.
  • As seen in Halo 3, the Shipmaster (Rtas 'Vadum) was in control of the entire Covenant Fleet. This would make Rtas 'Vadum a Fleet Master.
  • The Sangheili Ship Master from Halo Legends' The Package wears a new and more ornate version of the Sangheili Combat Harness helmet.
  • In the brief weeks between the end of the Human-Covenant war and the Blooding Years, Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood came to be known by the Sangheili as the Shipmaster of Shipmasters.[10]


  1. Halo: Contact Harvest, Page ??
  2. Halo: The Cole Protocol, Page ??
  3. Halo: The Flood, Page 4
  4. Halo: The Flood, Page 41 ("'Nosolee felt certain that the man named "Keez" held the position of Ship Master")
  5. Halo: Combat Evolved - Level: The Truth and Reconciliation
  6. Halo: Reach - Level: Long Night of Solace
  7. Halo 2 - Level: The Arbiter
  8. Halo 3 - Level: Floodgate
  9. Halo: The Cole Protocol, Page 159
  10. Halo: Glasslands, Page 361