Heeding the criticism from the Maritime Growth Study published earlier this week by Maritime UK, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has vowed to grow the UK flag while maintaining quality.
A new high-level director role has been created to work at the MCA to encourage shipowners to join the UK Ship Register, a flag that has been falling in popularity in recent years.
At a reception in London yesterday, the UK’s minister for shipping said: “Be in no doubt that we want to see more ships joining the UK Ship register.”
Sir Alan Massey, ceo of the MCA, said: “We recognise ourselves that something has needed to change. In recent years the number of ships and the total gross tonnage on the UK Ship Register has fallen compared to the previous decade of growth. The UK flag has seemingly become less attractive to shipowners and operators and we cannot go on ignoring the problem.”
The goal now is to try and claw back market share. The UK flag is currently the 10th largest in the world with a 1.2% market share, having lost a third of its tonnage over the past five years. Over the next few years the aim is to get above 3%.