The dynamic characteristics (i.e., natural frequencies and mode shapes) of a partially filled and/or submerged, horizontal cylindrical shell are examined. In this investigation, it is assumed that the fluid is ideal, and fluid forces are associated with inertial effects only: namely, the fluid pressure on the wetted surface of the structure is in phase with the structural acceleration. The in vacuo dynamic characteristics of the cylindrical shell are obtained using standard finite element software. In the "wet" part of the analysis, it is assumed that the shell structure preserves its in vacuo mode shapes when in contact with the contained and/or surrounding fluid and that each mode shape gives rise to a corresponding surface pressure distribution of the shell. The fluid-structure interaction effects are calculated in terms of generalized added masses, using a boundary integral equation method together with the method of images in order to impose an appropriate boundary condition on the free surface. To assess the influence of the contained and/or surrounding fluid on the dynamic behaviour of the shell structure, the wet natural frequencies and associated mode shapes were calculated and compared with available experimental measurements. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.