British shipowners have been challenged to ‘step up in some key areas’ — including action to dramatically reduce the industry’s fatal accident record, which is 20 times higher than the level ashore.
In a keynote speech to the UK Chamber of Shipping’s annual dinner, president Grahaeme Henderson urged the industry to ‘take the necessary steps to retain its leading position in the world of shipping’ — by addressing its employment and environmental performance and embracing innovation.
Dr Henderson — who is vice-president of shipping and marine at Shell — said safety should be a priority. ‘When I meet the families of our seafarers, they tell me that the most important thing is getting their loved ones home safely,’ he added. ‘Our global shipping industry has a fatal accident rate 20 times that of the average British worker and five times that of construction. That is simply not good enough.
Outlining plans to make ‘a step change in safety performance’, Dr Henderson said: ‘We want to be able to look the families and children of our seafarers in the eyes and tell them that their father and their mother work in the safest industry in the world.’
The Chamber leader said he hoped the government will make an announcement on the SMarT Plus training proposals put forward by the owners and Nautilus. ‘There is no shortage of young people who want to make a career in shipping and we need to support them,’ he added. ‘Having jobs for all — jobs for young people — this is the basic requirement of a successful nation and a successful industry.’