The savage decline in the numbers of active seafarers in the UK over the last 40 years has been nothing short of disgraceful and it was good to read of the powerful message from Nautilus International highlighting the continuing importance of seafaring to international trade.
It demanded action to secure the future of the UK maritime sector and deliver decent work and training opportunities for our seafarers.
Nautilus International is demonstrating how much the UK relies on shipping and seafarers with 95 per cent of everything, from clothes to food and fuel, brought into the country by sea. Without shipping the import and export of affordable food and goods would not be possible, according to the maritime professional’s union representing 22,000 seafarers, and it has created an animated video reminding people just how much they rely on this vital industry.
The animation shows how half the world would freeze due to a lack of fuel and supermarket shelves would stand near empty if we were to lose our Merchant Navy. Plus, the more than 250,000 jobs that are supported by a buoyant maritime industry would be lost as would its £11bn contribution to the British economy.
Last month, Nautilus International launched a 10-point charter calling on the UK Government and maritime industry to secure the UK’s maritime future by delivering decent work and training opportunities for British seafarers. It warned that a failure to protect the industry could put the nation’s economic security at risk and leave it ‘dangerously dependent’ on other countries for many essential goods. Nautilus International’s General Secretary, Mark Dickinson, said: “Seafarers bring us 95 per cent of everything including what we consume, use and wear — not to mention those reliant on ferry services or going on cruise holidays. But because their work takes place beyond the horizon away from view, it’s easily forgotten just how much we rely on them.
“Our new animated video aims to remind people of what British mariners do and how those who go to sea for work still play a vital role for the UK as an island nation.”