UK Seafarer Statistics – DfT consultation

Circular No: NP/209/16


Our ref: S1/1/15

1st September 2016

Dear Colleagues

UK Seafarer Statistics – DfT consultation

Further to circular no. NP/044/16 of 28th January 2016, the Department for Transport today announced a consultation over the collection and content of the Seafarer Statistics the UK Government publishes every year.

The 2015 Seafarer Statistics found 8,830 UK Ratings working at sea, although this only covers the period to June 2015, after which there were significant job losses on offshore supply vessels in the North Sea. In addition, 50% of UK ratings are aged over 40 years but this rises dramatically amongst deck and engine ratings to 74% and 76% respectively. 66% of General Purpose ratings are aged over 40 years. If this goes unaddressed, the majority of UK Ratings will have retired or left the industry by the beginning of the next decade, with the industry seeking to fill those jobs with non-UK seafarers on lower rates of pay.

At present, the Government does not collect or publish annual statistics for the number of people in training or apprenticeships to become a Seafarer Rating. This consultation is a vital opportunity to persuade the Government to include the number of people training to become a rating in the annual Seafarer Statistics. This would provide a public measure of how effective the Government’s Apprenticeships and maritime training policies are in recruiting the next generation of UK Ratings.

A copy of the ‘Seafarer Statistics: user engagement exercise’ document can be found here:

I would urge all Shipping Branches and RMT seafarer members to respond to the DfT’s short online survey here:

The consultation and the survey close on 30th October and the union will be putting in formal responses to both. Please keep your union updated with your responses, by email to  

It would be appreciated if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all branch members and you will be updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary