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20-12-2018

26,000 UK seafarers at sea, new figures confirm

There are almost 26,000 active UK seafarers at sea, according to new Government statistics.

The annual Seafarer Statistics from the Department for Transport, which were released last week, showed just under half of the total active at sea were officers (10,480 certificated and 1,460 uncertificated) with a further 1,760 officer cadets in training during the financial year 2017/18.

There has been a overall downward trend in the number of UK seafarers over the past 15 years. Recent years’ numbers have been broadly stable, however in 2018 the estimated total was 8% higher than the previous year, largely due to an increase in the number of ratings. However, the 23% increase in ratings between 2017 and 2018 is largely explained by a change in how the data is collected.

The UK Chamber surveys its membership to provide seafarer employment data to government. We make clear to Government and other third parties that this data is heavily dependent on the volume of responses we receive, and that those responses will fluctuate as the UK Chamber’s membership increases.

The majority of UK seafarers active at sea are male (an estimated 96% of certificated officers, 66% of uncertificated officers and 73% of ratings). Overall, there were 40,780 seafarers holding certificates to work on UK vessels issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, with around 14,480 of these being UK nationals.
Source: UK Chamber of Shipping

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