RMT demands response from the maritime industry to decline in UK Seafarers

RMT demands response from the maritime industry to decline in UK Seafarers

22 February 2022

RMT Press Office:

Government statistics on UK Seafarers found UK Ratings numbers continued their pattern of decline.

SEAFARER Union RMT today responded with concern to the latest Government statistics on UK Seafarers which found UK Ratings numbers continued their pattern of stagnation and decline, with very few in training to fill this gap.

Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary said:

“These figures show UK shipping is in a crisis of its own making. UK-based Ratings now only hold 11.5% of over 82,000 jobs and the number of Deck Ratings has plummeted 40% with very few apprentices in the pipeline.

"Maritime apprenticeships should be backfilling seafarer jobs after the pandemic but employers are simply ignoring them in favour of cheaper crew from countries with appalling human rights records. Flagship training policies like the Tonnage Tax are hopelessly unbalanced, with 13,000 Cadets and only 75 Ratings trained in the last 20 years and the Government must use its current reforms to the £2.48bn Tonnage Tax to mandate Ratings training.

"We have been warning for years that the Government must provide greater protection from under cutting and invest in Ratings training to back fill jobs and it is time they listened. RMT call on all sectors of the shipping industry to increase the number of apprentice Ratings in the UK to avert a full blown maritime skills crisis.”



  1. In 2020, the proportion of jobs held by UK Ratings on UK Chamber of Shipping vessels was 13%. Today’s statistics show a 12,940/18.6% rise in the total number of Ratings jobs on those ships, with UK based Ratings accounting for 430/3.3% of that increase.
  1. An increase in the number of hotel and onboard service Ratings masked a 1,540/40% decline in Deck Ratings living in the UK.
  2. 68% of Deck and 62% of Engine Ratings are aged between 40 and 61 years.
  3. The total number of UK seafarers (Ratings and Officers) fell by 8%.
  1. Written Answers show that 12,890 UK Cadets have entered training on Tonnage Tax vessels since 2003-04.
  2. Written Answer to PQ1659, 17th October 2019 shows 75 Ratings trained on Tonnage Tax ships. The Maritime Minister cannot provide any further estimates.
The BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report 2021 found that the main countries supplying Ratings to the shipping industry include the Philippines, Russia, and China.

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Tagged with: Seafarers, Ratings, Deck Ratings, Numbers, Decline, Jobs,