DfT Seafarer Statistics 2020

Circular No: NP/069/21


Our ref: S1/1

26th February 2021

Dear Colleagues

DfT Seafarer Statistics 2020

Earlier this week, the Department for Transport published the delayed statistics for Seafarers in the UK Shipping Industry: 2020. They cover the year to June 2020.

The figures show a small decline in the number of UK Ratings to 9,060. Overall, UK Ratings and Officers held 19% of 86,140 seafarer jobs. The government claims that this is a stable picture, yet the proportion of UK Ratings declined to 14% of 65,670 jobs. The statistics also mask the real picture as they do not include the assault on members’ jobs in the second half of 2020, at P&O Ferries in particular.

The figures also reveal that employers only took on sixty Deck Rating apprentices in the year before the pandemic, 2019-20. This is also appallingly low and risks locking UK seafarers out of jobs growth in the offshore energy supply chain and other growing sectors such as carbon capture and storage, decommissioning and hydrogen. We also need UK crew to fill all positions across all departments on the existing ferries fleet, and on the vessels that will return to UK routes when the sector eventually recovers.

The shipping industry says it is seeking a level commercial playing field but these figures again show that UK seafarers continue to lose out to unfair competition from low cost labour. The Government has committed to work with RMT and others to draw up and meet annual targets for increasing the number of UK Ratings in training and work. There is also a planned DfT review of Post-Brexit protections from nationality based pay discrimination for seafarers, which gets to the heart of the problem. The collective fight to protect jobs and conditions and to build a maritime future fit for our seafarer and port communities continues.

I would be grateful if you would share this update with maritime and offshore members in your branch or region and I will keep you informed of further developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary