Seafarers UK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Seafarers UK's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Seafarers UK is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.seafarers.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | SEAFARERS UK
Barry Bryant, Director General
from 2002 to 2019
Many of Britain’s inshore fishermen
struggle to earn a living
Seafarers UK has helped seafarers and their families for
over 100 years. It provides vital support by giving grants to
organisations and projects that impact the lives of people
who need it across the Merchant Navy, fishing fleets, Royal Navy
and Royal Marines. Last year, it awarded 76 grants totalling
£2.46 million to 56 different maritime welfare charities. Former
Commodore Barry Bryant tells
TheParliamentary Review
more
about the charity’s work.
If there’s one thing which has emerged clearly from the Brexit furore, it’s the reminder
that we are an island nation and will remain so: one surrounded by sea, fish, shipping
and seafarers that is dependent on maritime trade. That, however, too easily slips
away from public consciousness. We want to raise parliamentary and wider awareness
of the entirety and integrity of the whole UK maritime community and its people.
It is easy to think, should the public ever consider it, of three seafaring regimes –
the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy and the fishing fleets, existing in their separate
and specific bubbles – but that is to ignore the workboats, an all-encompassing
term describing those who service our huge offshore energy industry and,
increasingly, superyachts where UK crews are in huge demand both as highly
professional seafarers and English-speaking crew.
Getting a grip
The past five years have seen valiant efforts to pull these disparate strands together
wherever possible into a cohesive whole that is so much greater than the sum of
its parts. Lord Mountevans’ far-sighted Maritime Growth Study of 2015 paved the
FACTS ABOUT
SEAFARERS UK
»CEO: Catherine Spencer
»Established in 1917
»Based in Victoria, London
»Services: Welfare and
personnel support, including
career promotion, to the UK
maritime community
»No. of employees: 20
»Seafarers has the unique
position of operating across
the Royal Navy, the Merchant
Navy and fishing fleets
following losses from all
sectors in the First World War
Seafarers UK
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | SEAFARERS UK
Barry Bryant, Director General
from 2002 to 2019
Many of Britain’s inshore fishermen
struggle to earn a living
Seafarers UK has helped seafarers and their families for
over 100 years. It provides vital support by giving grants to
organisations and projects that impact the lives of people
who need it across the Merchant Navy, fishing fleets, Royal Navy
and Royal Marines. Last year, it awarded 76 grants totalling
£2.46 million to 56 different maritime welfare charities. Former
Commodore Barry Bryant tells
TheParliamentary Review
more
about the charity’s work.
If there’s one thing which has emerged clearly from the Brexit furore, it’s the reminder
that we are an island nation and will remain so: one surrounded by sea, fish, shipping
and seafarers that is dependent on maritime trade. That, however, too easily slips
away from public consciousness. We want to raise parliamentary and wider awareness
of the entirety and integrity of the whole UK maritime community and its people.
It is easy to think, should the public ever consider it, of three seafaring regimes –
the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy and the fishing fleets, existing in their separate
and specific bubbles – but that is to ignore the workboats, an all-encompassing
term describing those who service our huge offshore energy industry and,
increasingly, superyachts where UK crews are in huge demand both as highly
professional seafarers and English-speaking crew.
Getting a grip
The past five years have seen valiant efforts to pull these disparate strands together
wherever possible into a cohesive whole that is so much greater than the sum of
its parts. Lord Mountevans’ far-sighted Maritime Growth Study of 2015 paved the
FACTS ABOUT
SEAFARERS UK
»CEO: Catherine Spencer
»Established in 1917
»Based in Victoria, London
»Services: Welfare and
personnel support, including
career promotion, to the UK
maritime community
»No. of employees: 20
»Seafarers has the unique
position of operating across
the Royal Navy, the Merchant
Navy and fishing fleets
following losses from all
sectors in the First World War
Seafarers UK
43SEAFARERS UK |
COMMUNITY
way for a re-energised Maritime UK
Board, where the highly profitable and
London-centric maritime services sector
could sit alongside representatives
of the ports, shipbuilders, the leisure
industry, government and even those
charities with a passion for the welfare
and promotion of the seafarers
themselves, such as Seafarers UK and
Trinity House.
Indeed, half the recommendations in
the MGS concerned people and the
need to consider awareness, career
promotion, training and transferable
skills as of equal importance to the
more traditional heavy metal areas.
2019 saw the signposts of the study
and the initial achievements of
Maritime UK turned into Maritime
2050, a strategic blueprint by the
Department for Transport for the next
three decades inviting even greater co-
operation, better and more efficient use
of personnel, and road maps for each
area to ensure cross-sector integration.
Innovative strides have already been
made in common qualifications and
transferable skills between the Royal
and Merchant Navies, but there is still a
long way to go before the achievement
of a fully unified and robustly resourced
seafaring sector.
Fishing for a future
Meanwhile, a recent study has confirmed
that relative poverty, a high death and
injury rate and poor health still stalk
our inshore fishing communities. While
their ocean-going, deep-sea colleagues
can earn considerable sums despite
working in somewhat less arduous and
risky conditions, small boat owners
and crews remain at the mercy of
sometimes archaic rules concerning
fishing and landing quotas as well as
the fury of the elements and frequently
poor harbour facilities.
Standards of physical, dental and
mental health are often low, with the
demands of going to sea and earning
money outweighing any desire or
ability to seek NHS assistance, which
is often many miles from their isolated
home ports.
Reacting to overwhelming and
research-based evidence, three
nautical charities – the Fishermen’s
Mission, the Seafarers Hospital
Society and Seafarers UK – have now
joined forces to deliver examples
of waterfront care, and they will
subsequently be attempting to
convince mainstream health providers
that much more needs to be done for
these citizens on the literal fringes of
the nation.
Unsung heroes
Perhaps the most challenging
battle that any UK seafarer faces is
convincing the Great British public of
how essential their work is. Whether
it’s the nuclear submariner, quietly
keeping the Trident-assured peace
somewhere under the oceans of the
world, the lonely container ship officer
on watch half a world away from
home, with few companions and poor
internet connectivity, or the workboat
skipper struggling to land technicians
on an offshore wind turbine, they all
Our Merchant Navy
offers a wide range of
careers at sea for men
and women
Seafarers
expect the
unexpected
on a daily
basis
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | SEAFARERS UK
have one thing in common – their
work is out of sight and out of mind.
Even in their periods ashore, seafarers
tend to follow unassuming lives,
preferring to live within their own
communities, and finding it difficult to
convey a sense of their working lives in
the vastness of the untamed waters to
those whose own daily experiences are
rarely more stressful than a crowded
commuter train or a faulty iPad.
We’re not seeking compassion or
sympathy – our seafarers are all
volunteers in their chosen professions
– but rather a greater public
understanding and appreciation for
this now much-reduced cadre of
people whose work is so vital to the
life of this country.
Although we’re now very much safer
than a century ago, seafarers expect
the unexpected on a daily basis.
Embedded in our national heritage
are the words of the Naval Prayer:
“Preserve us from the dangers of
the sea and from the violence of the
enemy”, while the well-known hymn
Eternal Father
enjoins the Almighty
“from rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them wheresoe’er they go”.
Sea blindness
For centuries, this island has been
defended, fed and supplied – indeed
enriched – by those who go down
to the sea in ships, but it is only in
relatively recent years that reduced
numbers of personnel and fewer
but ever-bigger ships operating from
massive, yet relatively isolated, ports
like Felixstowe have pushed them from
the public consciousness.
Gone are the days when the streets of
Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham
played host to uniformed “Jolly Jack”
and, it is said, one could walk across
the Hull docks on the decks of the
hundreds of trawlers returned with
rich pickings from Icelandic and Arctic
waters. Such times are unlikely to
return, yet that should not result in the
vital but unsung work of present-day
seafarers fading from view.
We and our partners are working not
only to provide assistance to relieve
the stresses of life at sea but also to
ensure that the country overcomes the
insidious disease of “sea blindness”
that has afflicted so many of the
public. We trust that a moment’s
reflection on the facts above may lead
to a search for greater understanding
and gratitude throughout the
parliamentary estate and beyond,
and a desire to help Seafarers UK
give the red, white and blue ensigns
the support and resources they so
richlydeserve.
Help Seafarers
UK give the
red, white and
blue ensigns
the support
and resources
they so richly
deserve
The Royal Navy protects
the UK’s interests all
around the world

www.seafarers.uk

This article was sponsored by Seafarers UK. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development