Skip to main content

Shipping: Training

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL599, tabled on 24 June 2014

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made as to whether the present level of United Kingdom seafarer training is sufficient to prevent long-term shortages of seafarers.

Answered on

30 June 2014

The maritime sector is vitally important to the UK economy and the Government is keen for talented individuals, trained to the highest standards, to continue to enter the industry. The Government produces and publishes National Statistics on the number of UK certificated seafarers and ratings currently estimated to be active at sea and on the number of sea cadets in training. The Department for Transport carefully monitors these statistics each year (or when updates are available).

It is evident that there is a decline in seafarer numbers and this was a key subject of discussion at a recent Maritime round table which included Ministers and representatives from industry and the Unions. To address this decline, the Support for Maritime Training programme (SMarT) budget was increased by 25% to £15m in September 2013. The SMarT budget supports the cost of training for both ratings and cadets.

The Government also has a number of other policies in place to address the decline including:

  • Maritime apprenticeships, where the maritime sector is playing a key role in helping shape the future of apprenticeships through a ratings trailblazer which was announced in March 2014.
  • The UK's tonnage tax regime has a mandatory training link where currently one trainee officer is trained each year for every 15 officer posts in a company or group's fleet. This training link will pilot an extension to allow three ratings to be trained in place of one trainee officer.