Categories: UK Chamber of ShippingPublished On: 02.03.20211944 words9.7 min read

From autonomous shipping to tonnage tax and light dues, the UK Chamber is always looking to get the best deal for the industry

In 2018 the UK Chamber, along with The Department for Transport, HM Revenue & Customs and HM Treasury, conducted a survey of the UK’s Tonnage Tax regime. The study found a high degree of satisfaction with the national regime, with the UK’s Training Commitment being singled out as a particularly successful feature. The regime was found to be well- administered and stable although some international respondents identified barriers to new entrants. The UK’s departure from the EU and the completion of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020 created an opportunity to review the regime and propose changes to address the issues raised in the earlier study. This work aimed to make modest national changes to improve the UK offering and to make it more attractiveto both existing tonnage tax companies and to inward
investors. This important work is ongoing with members and UK Government. The ability for the UK regime to develop outside of some of the constraints of the EU State Aid Guidelines will be an obvious area of attention as the UK establishes its own subsidy regimes in 2021.

The Lights Advisory Committee has maintained good contact with the three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) during a year when Covid-19 has impacted all shipping operations including the GLA’s operations and the maintenance of the UK’s Aids to Navigation. The total spending forecast for the three GLAs in 2021/22 is about £85m with the vessel replacement programmes for new tenders for Trinity House and Northern Lighthouse Board in 24/25 placing a modest increasing spend due to both project and financing costs. Trinity House has a second major project planned for 2021 to 2024 around the required decommissioning of the Royal Sovereign light structure in the English Channel.
GLA costs have been capped by an RPI-x mechanism between 2016 to 2021 which from a shipowners’ perspective has delivered real time cost savings of 30% over a 10 year period, enabling the UK’s Light Dues rates to be held at 37.5p since 2017. GLA spend and lower Light Dues receipts due to Covid-19 will place pressure on the future level of rates.

Rig owners in BROA membership provide offshore energy services to energy companies world-wide. These services range from drilling, accommodation, and well intervention services for the oil and gas industry, to the construction of offshore wind farms. The impact of Covid-19 on offshore energy has been dramatic. For offshore renewables, the ability to change crew on vessels has been key to ensuring that the UK and elsewhere continue their journeys towards decarbonisation. For offshore oil and gas, the added drop and fluctuation in energy demand has depressed the green shoots of recovery seen in January 2020. Policy developments during 2020 included facilitating crew changes in the UK, EU and elsewhere; ensuring that the UK regulators appropriately accommodate for the difficulties with national lockdowns and global
restrictions; ensuring appropriate regulation of human factors in the workplace; emissions monitoring and decarbonisation funding; and the impact of the end of the UK-EU transition period.

The membership represented in the Offshore Panel is varied, with vessels providing a wide variety of services for offshore oil and gas, renewables, and telecommunications. Covid-19 has had a profound impact on global energy demand, as well as the ability to conduct crew changes. Decarbonisation has also been considered as a policy priority, given the potential regulatory lacuna at IMO for many types of offshore vessels, and the impact domestic and regional regulations could have on these vessels. The issue of local content requirements in UK offshore
renewables has been of key interest as well, with some engagement on this issue with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) both directly and through consultation responses. Policy priorities for 2021 will be focused on Covid-19 and crewing, decarbonisation and UK content issues.

The UK Chamber of Shipping in partnership with key stakeholders has produced three framework documents which identify, measure and provide recommendations on the resumption of cruise ship operations from the UK in the context of Coronavirus (Covid-19). The three documents focus on operators, the management of seafarers and advice for passengers prior to going on a cruise. All three
documents have been built on the basis of identifyingpotential risks which could increase the spread of Covid-19, and the subsequent mitigations which should be put in place to reduce that risk. This has been done using existing shore-side UK Government guidance as well as guidance from the European Centre for Disease Control, the European Maritime EMSA, EU Healthy Gateways and the IMO.

The information and guidance for UK passenger ferry operations during Covid-19 has been developed by members of the UK Chamber of Shipping and is aimed at providing both information and recommendations that will assist ferry operators in ensuring that passengers and crew are safe within the context of Covid-19. It outlines the measures ferry operators should take to continue to offer safe ferry travel to passengers in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and that the safety and well-being of passengers and employees can be assured. The guidance will help prevent and respond to Covid-19 by mitigating the associated risks to passengers, crew and other members of the public in the maritime environment.

The Chamber has been working on ways to reduce shipping’s environmental impact on the planet. In December 2020 we launched our Single-Use Plastic Charter aimed at eliminating all non-essential single-use plastic onshore and offshore by 31st December 2021. Upon its launch, 29 members from all areas of the shipping sector adopted the Charter, pledging to follow and go beyond the IMO’s work and the UK
Government’s commitments to this important issue.

The waters around the British Isles are leading globally in development of offshore renewable energy, and new targets set by UK Government for deployment of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 will result in reduced sea room and require careful consideration of existing marine stakeholders and commercial shipping.
The Chamber continues to work diligently and constructively with developers of offshore renewable developments (wind, tidal, wave) with the core focus of safeguarding the navigational safety of crews, vessels and their cargoes from undue, excessive or risk – elevating deviation or loss of sea room. Through collaborative efforts with other stakeholders across the UK maritime industry and internationally, the Chamber has seen meaningful concessions, alterations to planned developments, and rejections from planning authorities, all to the benefit of
commercial navigation.
Strong working relationships with MCA and Trinity House enable navigational safety consensus to develop and the Chamber’s support of the ongoing revision of the MCA’s Marine Guidance Notes for Offshore Renewable installations will set a strong baseline for navigational safety for the next decade in UK waters.

The Chamber’s Bridge Resource Management Task Force has met regularly for over a year to explore “what good looks like” with regards to BRM. In December 2020 it published and formally launched a new Guidance Document to elevate safety and introduce new ideas to industry.
The BRM Guidance, published via Witherbys Seamanship, is an operational handbook examining what good bridge resource management looks like and details, for all types of vessel, techniques for effective and optimised bridge teams. The Guidance equips readers with the principles and practice necessary to avoid single point failures when executing berth to berth voyages. Through five main themes, Passage Planning, Teamwork, Communications, Checklists, and Intervention, the Guidance highlights commonly encountered issues and illustrates high level BRM principles to emphasise the importance of an effective management strategy.
The Guidance explores both the human and technical resources available to the bridge team, ensuring safe completion of the ship’s voyage. Tools such as the PACE model explain how crew can address operational weaknesses while avoiding confrontation on board. Case studies offer practical examples of ineffective BRM and solutions for how to improve passage planning.
The taskforce members and the Chamber encourage industry uptake and trialling of the ideas within.

Initiated by the UK Chamber and the British Ports Association, the inaugural Maritime Tourism Summit (MTS) was held on the 3rd December 2020. The MTS, with its theme “connecting passengers better”, is designed to foster better engagement between related maritime tourism stakeholders so that the effect of the industry on the destinations in which they operate is complementary. The event featured engaging and thoughtful presentations from ferry and cruise operators, ports, local councils and tourism
representatives. How consultations with residents in destinations can be better managed, encouraging efforts in inclusive transport, and demonstrating ways to improve economic, social and environmental contributions were all discussed.
While the idea for the summit was conceived in 2019, its relevance has become increasingly significant in light of the pandemic. As the passenger shipping sector seeks to rebuild confidence in maritime tourism, another Summit will be held in 2021. The next summit, which will be organised in association with a wider array of stakeholders, will continue to highlight the positive contribution of the sector and the importance of ensuring passenger numbers recover quickly, but also show sensitivity to passenger ship destinations.

Promoting Merchant Navy career pathways
What have we done and why? Hear it straight from our Careers at Sea Ambassadors.
“This past year unfortunately the careers fairs I had booked in were all cancelled for obvious reasons, but that didn’t stop us promoting a career at sea; I was lucky enough to get to present on a webinar hosted for careers advisors to come hear about what we do and how ambassadors can still help even in an online way. I was also honoured to create a video to share out as to what the Merchant Navy is. Already I am looking forward to 2021, kickstarting the new year with two days of mock interviews for a local Warwickshire school in January.”
“Despite the unusual year, as Ambassadors we have found new ways to reach schools and careers professionals. The year began with face-to-face visits where I took part in careers presentations, mock interviews and working with students to introduce them to Careers at Sea. As the pandemic set in, I continued this important work, shifting to video calls with schools for presentations and Q&A sessions. I felt it was important to continue spreading the word and letting young adults know that there are opportunities outside of their towns and cities, opportunities that no other career would ever give them.”
John (IDWAL Marine, Careers at Sea company sign-up):
“We volunteered as a company with a large and flexible pool of CAS ambassadors because we often struggle to find qualified and experienced ex-seafarers when recruiting for technical roles local to our office. We felt that the best way to solve this would be to encourage the next generation of seafarers ourselves. Over the past year we have taken part in the careers roadshow, reaching out to local schools to offer an insight from one of our various ambassadors into the benefits that a career at sea can provide.”
Join and support our Careers at Sea team to help us let more people know about what the Merchant Navy is and how they can start their own journey. For more information, visit or email [email protected]

Photo: Ramiah Selvarajan Chief Officer – Sunset on the Philippines Sea

Photo: Marks Ogloblins 2nd Officer – Dolphins

Photo: Andrew Sassoil-Walker

Photo: Andrew Sassoil-Walker

Photo: Andrew Sassoil-Walker