The embattled UK Ship Register has dropped out of the world’s top 20 list of flag states by size for the first time since records began.
Latest statistics from the World Fleet Monitor monthly publication issued yesterday by Clarkson Research Services sees the UK flag slide out of the world’s top 20 registries, falling from 19th spot in August to 21 this month with India and Iran leapfrogging it in the last month.
The UK flag’s fleet now stands at 956 ships totalling 10.6m gt, down 34% from the 16.1m gt on its books at the start of the year.
Among a host of international shipping companies ditching the British flag this year, France’s CMA CGM pulled 49 of its ships from the register earlier this year, citing Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union. The Marseille-headquarted line said it had taken the decision to drop the Red Ensign “in light of Brexit and to avoid any uncertainty in the period with our fleet status and regulations”.
Despite the calamitous year to date, officials at the British registry are putting on a brave face, stating last week they have set a 12.5% growth target for the coming 12 months.