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Species and equipment information

Sangheili, Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar


Elite Personal Energy Shield

Political and military information
Mission types

Space Operations


Ship Commanders

Notable members

Covenant, later Covenant Loyalists and Covenant Separatists

Were you looking for Rtas 'Vadum, the Halo 3 character?

Shipmaster (feminine form Shipmistress), alternately spelled Ship Master,[1] 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.[2] 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 Elite who is in command of a single Starship. As per to denote their high-ranking status, most Shipmasters usually have bodyguards, such as a Hunter 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.

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.

Before Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, it was assumed that only Zealots could hold the rank of Shipmaster. However, after killing the previous Shipmaster of their vessel, the Incorruptible, Major Domo 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. Given the sheer size of the Covenant, the majority of Shipmasters are probably either Major Domos or Ultras.

As such, higher ranks than Zealot may hold command positions over a Starship. The Arbiter, should their role call for it, could be given command of the ship. Councilors could also have the potential to be a Shipmaster, having even Zealots subordinate to them. These ranks could theoretically be considered the Shipmaster of a particular ship; most likely the flagship of the Fleet. There are also Brute equivalents to the Shipmaster, called Alpha Jiralhanae - these may be equivalent to the entire Zealot range.

Also, as shown in Halo: Contact Harvest and Halo: The Cole Protocol, the title of Shipmaster could be held by other species than the Sangheili and Jiralhanae, specifically Jackals, in both case female ones, hence the name Shipmistress. The only Shipmistresses so far are Chur'R-Yar and Chur 'R-Mut.


Physical Appearance

Elite Shipmasters featured thus far, don't appear to have any changes to their armor to distinguish themselves from other members of their rank (it is impossible to tell a Zealot Shipmaster apart from a Zealot Field Master based on their armor, for example). Other types of Shipmasters, such as Alpha Brutes or Minor Prophets, are yet to be sighted. It is unknown if their armor would be different, to denote their individual rank. (Though it seems Lepidus, the Shipmaster who attacked Michigan, wore dark purple armor, and the design was that of a Captain.)


Halo: The Cole Protocol

A Jackal Shipmistress and a Brute 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

Only one Shipmaster is seen, the Shipmaster of the Truth and Reconciliation. He was killed by the Master Chief 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, Minor Elites, but he is still subdued by the Spartan.

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

In Halo 3, Rtas 'Vadum holds the position of Shipmaster. He is seen commanding the Assault Carrier, Shadow of Intent, as well as a small battle group that glasses Voi and the surrounding areas.

Known Shipmasters

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


  • 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.)
  • So far, the only Sangheili ranks confirmed holding the title of Shipmaster are Zealots, Ultras and Major Domos.
  • Rtas 'Vadum and Voro Nar 'Mantakree (when firstly promoted) are the only known Shipmasters that were not zealots.
  • 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.
  • Rtas 'Vadum is the most known Shipmaster. You see him in videos through out Halo 3.
  • 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.
  • Voro Nar 'Mantakree was known for becoming a Shipmaster when he killed his CO aboard the Covenant Cruiser, the Incorruptible.
  • Sangheili Shipmasters are known to wear Doarmir fur cloaks as a sign of status.
  • The Sangheili Ship Master from Halo Legends' 'The Package' wears a new and more ornate version of the Combat Harness helmet


  1. Halo: The Flood, page 4
  2. Halo: The Flood, page 41 "'Nosolee felt certain that the man named "Keez" held the position of Ship Master"
Sangheili Ranks
High Council Councilor
Temporary/Prominent OssoonaArbiter
Fleet Commander Fleet MasterSupreme CommanderImperial Admiral
Zealot Officers Field MasterShipmasterFleet MasterSupreme Commander
Special Operations Spec-OpsSpec-Ops OfficerSpec-Ops Commander of the Covenant
Honor Guard Sangheili Honor GuardsmanHonor Guard UltraLight of Sanghelios
Specialists StealthRangerAscetics
Regular AristocratMinorMajorUltra
Civilian KaidonOracle Master
Heretic Heretic Sangheili MinorHeretic Sangheili MajorHeretic Leader

This article uses material from the "Shipmaster" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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