Public Accounts Committee
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Response to Growth in the UK Merchant Fleet
HC 586, Forty-fourth Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Public Accounts Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (the Agency) of the Department for Transport is responsible for regulating and monitoring the safety of the United Kingdom's merchant shipping fleet, for maintaining registers of UK vessels and promotes the benefits of operating under the UK flag to the international shipping industry.
Until the late 1990s, the UK merchant fleet was in long term decline. After the introduction of tonnage tax in 2000, the UK merchant trading fleet grew by over 50 per cent from 417 vessels to 646 in 2007. The growth continued in 2008, and ship owners have indicated their intention to bring more ships under the UK flag. It is disappointing that the Agency is not sticking to its 2007 target to increase the fleet by seven per cent each year, particularly when other States have clear strategies to encourage greater use of their fleets.
As the Agency's workload has increased it has coped by being flexible and adaptable and by delegating more survey work to classification societies. It is confident that it has the resources to continue to police the fleet adequately in the future. But it has a significant number of surveyor vacancies and an ageing surveyor workforce.
The Agency has shown no evidence of a robust and proactive strategy to recruit and retain the staff that it needs. Evidence on the current programme of surveys and inspections is confusing, with some targets missed and others exceeded.
|Format||Paperback||Published||29 Oct 2009|
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