Government should invest in maritime technology, cleaner fuels and manpower: MPs

There is a “huge commercial opportunity” in the development of smart and autonomous boats for the UK, according to a report by the Transport Select Committee (TSC).

He urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to publish the result of a consultation on the regulation of innovative technology so that “momentum” is not lost.

There is a need for “great clarity” on how the Government’s vision of the UK being a world leader in zero-emission shipping will be achieved, the committee concluded.

This includes a “defined plan to decarbonise the maritime sector with clear and measurable objectives for both the country and abroad”, he stated.

The maritime industry “needs certainty” about the fuels and types of vessels that will be supported as part of efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions.

The report warned that the government’s response to P&O Ferries’ decision to sack almost 800 seafarers without notice in March last year “will not be sufficient to ensure proper treatment” of workers still employed on the job.

The measures announced by the DfT included plans to enforce minimum wage requirements.

The TSC called for the promised welfare letter to be introduced “as soon as possible” and made mandatory.

This must include “concrete actions to hold employers to high standards and support better mental health,” the committee said.

Iain Stewart, who chairs the TSC, said: “There are a range of things the government needs to do to support the sector and help it achieve its ambitions to decarbonise and remain a positive force on the global stage and for the UK economy. .

“The sector will need sustained support to meet the challenge of radically reducing carbon emissions.

“Many will support the Government’s plans to enforce the equivalent of the UK minimum wage for seafarers who frequently work here, albeit on overseas registered ships, but this will not be enough to ensure the proper treatment of people. of sea.

“We urge the Government to come forward with their promised welfare charter as soon as possible and make it mandatory for UK operators.

“And while fairer wage enforcement should help repair the industry’s reputation after the shocking practices witnessed by P&O Ferries, we hear that much remains to be done to raise the industry’s profile as a career option among young people, women and people of diverse origins.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Transport Select Committee recognizes the important contribution of the shipping sector to the UK and the work that has been done to develop the strategy.

“We want to build on the good progress in delivering Maritime 2050 and look forward to responding to the report in due course.”


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