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Union calls for UK government to guarantee maritime resilience

Mark Dickinson, General Secretary at Nautilus

Nautilus International is calling on the UK government to ensure long term industry resilience in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic and looming Brexit.

Mark Dickinson, general secretary at Nautilus, appeared before the House of Commons Transport Select Committee on 9 September, to discuss the impact of coronavirus on the maritime sector as the Union urges the government to commit to ensuring a strong and prosperous British maritime sector post-Brexit.

In a briefing document, Nautilus has urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to review the objectives in its Maritime 2050 strategy to ensure that the UK maritime industry is robust, secure for the future and better able to deal with a global crisis of the type we are now facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘The UK’s Maritime Resilience in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic’ outlines what the government must do to boost British seafarer employment, help the industry thrive and improve maritime safety, identifying three ‘key asks’ of the government:

  1. Review the employment status of seafarers, including the practice of ‘offshore employment’ contracts that has left many seafarers unable to access financial support during the crisis
  2. Review state aid provided to the industry and what that delivers to the nation in support of its strategic and maritime security needs and ambitions as a maritime nation
  3. Review its policy of supporting the Red Ensign Group and develop a coherent flag registration policy which is consistent with its obligations under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and which supports its stated aim of growing the UK Ship Registry.

Nautilus is also encouraging government ministers to ensure the needs of seafarers and the growth of the UK shipping industry are at the forefront of discussions as the UK heads towards the December 2020 transition deadline in its departure from the EU.

Nautilus International general secretary, Mark Dickinson, said: ‘The UK’s maritime interests have continued to suffer decline despite attempts to develop a strategic and long-term vision for the sector through the Maritime Growth Study and the Maritime 2050 initiative.

‘With the industry and those working within still severely impacted by the covid-19 pandemic and many questions still to be answered about the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit, we need a genuine commitment from the government that it is going to tackle these pressing issues, protect the industry and enable it to thrive in the coming years.’

The Union’s briefing document has been sent to MPs and attendees of today’s Transport Select Committee.

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