Nautilus gives fuel for thought throughout Seafarers Awareness Week

Maritime trade union Nautilus International is this month highlighting just how reliant we are on our seafarers, who we depend on for an estimated 95% of everything that is imported to the UK, including the oil for our petrol and diesel.

The Union, representing 22,000 maritime professional members, is promoting Seafarers Awareness Week (23rd-30th June) and the IMO International Day of the Seafarer (25th June), with several ad-placements in petrol station forecourts. It is hoped the initiative will raise awareness amongst the general public, making them think about where their fuel comes from.

Seafarers Awareness Week, which champions UK seafarers, is this year focusing on employment within the sector. Despite our reliance on seafarers to deliver almost everything we need to feed and clothe us, and fuel to power our homes and cars; the number of active seafarers has fallen 75% since 1975, from 90,000, to just over 23,000 individuals today.

It is estimated that we rely on the industry to support a total of £37.4 billion of GVA (gross value added). Nautilus International warns that unless more is done to protect jobs and skills in the sector, Britain’s seafarers will become so depleted that our economy could be as risk of being held to ransom by other nations with stronger shipping industries, whilst putting our maritime resilience into question.

Speaking ahead of Seafarers Awareness Week, the Union’s General Secretary, Mark Dickinson, said: “As an island nation we depend on the sea, and on seafarers for 95 per cent of everything we use, and consume. We want to remind the British public just how reliant we are on the industry, and petrol is something many of us depend on every day. Without seafarers there would be no fuel in petrol stations, hardly any clothes in our shops, and not enough food on our tables.

“With so many sectors depending on the industry, it has been estimated that every off-shore job results in 50 on land, so it really does have an impact on people’s lives”.

To protect the industry and reaffirm the UK’s reputation as a maritime nation, Nautilus International has launched a 10-point Charter for Jobs calling on the UK Government and the maritime industry to secure the UK’s maritime resilience by delivering decent work and training opportunities for British seafarers now before our seafaring skills and fleet are lost forever.

To read the charter in full visit Nautilus International’s website www.nautilusint.org/charter