UK Seafarer Statistics 2017

Circular No: NP/0101/18


Our ref: S1/1/18

31st May 2018

Dear Colleagues

UK Seafarer Statistics 2017

Further to circular no. NP/014/17 of 25th January 2017, the Department for Transport’s Seafarer Statistics 2017 were published yesterday, showing another small increase (950) to 9,830 in the number of UK Ratings working at sea.

These figures, based on the UK Chamber of Shipping’s survey of its members, cover the year to June 2017 and include Royal Fleet Auxiliary seafarers. The main findings of note for RMT members are:

• The number of UK Ratings increased by 950 to 9,830. The total number of UK Seafarers (Ratings and Officers) increased 3% to 23,760.
• Between 2015 and 2017 the total number of Ratings increased by 9,030 (16%) to 65,260. Ratings from non-EEA countries accounted for nearly half (4,290) of that increase in employment. Ratings from other EEA countries accounted for 1,640 of those jobs.
• The number of Ratings of ‘unknown’ nationality working for UK Chamber of Shipping member companies more than doubled to 3,790.
• 53% of total UK Ratings are aged 40 years or over, with that figure rising dramatically amongst deck (73%) and engine (74%) ratings.
• The number of UK Ratings in the deck and engine departments increased, although there was a fall in the number of Catering/Hotel/OBS department Ratings.
• Ratings from non-EEA countries held nearly 70% (45,160) of the jobs on merchant vessels in the UK shipping industry.
A copy of the Seafarer Statistics 2017 is attached and can be downloaded here:

Through the national SOS 2020 campaign your union has made it crystal clear to the Government and the Chamber of Shipping that RMT will not tolerate the ‘low cost’ crewing model in UK shipping which is driving the decline in UK Rating numbers. Deeper reforms to improve all seafarers’ employment and equality rights must be enacted to end this damaging crewing practice. We will continue to make these arguments to the Government and the UK Chamber of Shipping, particularly the new CEO, Bob Sanguinetti who takes over from Guy Platten in July.

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