Recent warnings of chronic UK seafarer skills shortages by 2026, has led the shipping industry to unite and call for urgent government action.

The Department for Transport UK Seafarer Projections report warns of a 30% fall of British deck and engineer officers over the next ten years.

The annual UK Seafarer Statistics report showed the number of UK officers working at sea fell by 3% last year and the total number of UK seafarers has fallen by over 14% since 2006 – to just over 23,000.

There was also a 3% decline of the number of officer cadets in training last year.

Guy Platten, Chamber of Shipping CEO said, “Industry and unions are united in their same ambition to reverse the long-standing downwards trend in seafarer recruitment and training. Together we have developed a proposal for an enhanced Support for Maritime Training regime that would see more seafarers being trained in return for additional government support. Seafarers are among the most productive workers in the country, and the economic case for government action is clear.”

Mark Dickinson, Nautilus General Secretary added, “These are deeply disturbing statistics for an island nation. This should be a wake-up call for the government to deliver on the policy promises made in the Maritime Growth Study. The time for talking is over ― this is a critical industry and we really need to take tangible action to safeguard the employment and training of British seafarers into the future.”