Received from: Nautilus
Noting that two years ago the government announced plans to double the number of vessels on the UK Ship Register, Congress expresses concern that official statistics announced in July 2019 showed that the register has nearly halved in that period, with many companies re-flagging vessels due to the uncertainty around Brexit.
Noting that the UK-flagged fleet sustains significant numbers of British seafaring jobs and provides career development ashore due to the importance of the maritime cluster, Congress is concerned that having no ships would be highly detrimental to the UK as an island nation and presents significant threat to the UK’s economic and strategic resilience.
Further, British seafarer numbers are continuing to decline, and, on current trends, their numbers will diminish by a further 30 per cent over the next decade.
Congress therefore calls for the government to:
i. properly enforce national minimum wage and work permit requirements for all seafarers working on domestic shipping services and ensure the legislation covers those operating in the North Sea UK continental shelf
ii. introduce cabotage legislation to establish a legal playing field and facilitate the promotion and enhancement of British shipping and British seafarers in coastal and offshore services
iii. ensure a flag and employment link to the UK Tonnage Tax scheme
iv. further enhance the amount of support available for the training of British seafarers through the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme to match that made available by the UK’s main competitors.