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Merchant Shipping

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL7487, tabled on 11 April 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether there has been a reduction in the number of British seafarers being employed by the world's merchant marine, and if there has, what action they are taking to ensure that the necessary numbers exist to meet national requirements for British seafarers in time of war.

Answered on

18 April 2016

The latest UK seafarer statistics can be found in the attached document “Seafarer Statistics, 2015” that is also available on

In 2015 the total number of UK seafarers active at sea was 23,380, an increase of 2% on the 2014 figure and 2.3% on 2013 figure. The figures for the last five years are shown below:







Active seafarers at sea






The Maritime Growth Study, chaired by Lord Mountevans and published on 7 September 2015, recognised the need for more proactive action to replenish and develop the skills needed to maintain the UK position as a world-leading maritime centre. The Government has accepted the recommendations and has already let a research contract to Oxford Economics to establish the requirement for trained seafarers in the UK.

However, the Government does not hold data on national requirements for British seafarers in time of war.