Shipping companies seek sailors from abroad
Lord Nelson would be turning in his grave: at news that the number of UK seafarers has slumped. Nautilus, an international trades union and professional association representing seafarers and allied workers in the United Kingdom, has voiced concern over new government statistics showing a fresh slump in the number of UK seafarers.
The Department for Transport report reveals that the total number of UK officers and ratings dropped by 10% last year, with an estimated 24,100 British seafarers active at sea.
The number of certificated UK officers has fallen by 19% since 2006, it notes, while the number of uncertificated officers dropped by 27% last year – a reduction that the DfT puts down as ‘primarily the result of a large company transferring their operations out of the UK’.
On the positive side, the number of officer cadets in training last year was 2,160 – a 19% increase from 2011. A total of 903 new entrants started under the SMarT scheme last year.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson commented: “Whilst it is good to see that cadet numbers have more than doubled since the tonnage tax training link was introduced, the report demonstrates the disturbing long-term decline in UK seafarer numbers. It underlines need for the government to urgently deliver the strategic maritime policy proposals promised by the shipping minister last year and to revisit the training package that was jointly tabled by the unions and the owners in an effort to ensure that we have the seafarers we need for the future.”