The Honourable Company of Master Mariners is an institution of professional seafarers that strongly supports the UK mercantile marine and the Royal Navy. It is true that the UK no longer possess the world’s largest merchant fleet. We now have the 15th largest merchant fleet consisting of over 10 million tonnes of shipping. But we are still one of the foremost maritime nations of the world.
London is the premier maritime cluster in the world – of insurers, admiralty lawyers, consultants and professional organisations. Further, our seafarers are in much demand to crew merchant ships. The Royal Navy is the second most powerful navy in the world. Shipping employs over a quarter of a million people and contributes £37 billion to our economy, this is twice the amount of the aerospace or agriculture industries. We are leaders in offshore technology, navigational equipment, maritime training, yacht design and maritime research.
Britain is also an island nation, no individual lives more than 70 miles from the sea. Our coasts and shipping have been guarded for centuries by the Royal Navy. 95% of the UK’s trade arrives and departs by sea. Millions of people use ships to go on holiday either by ferry or on cruise ships. The sea and shipping are therefore, of fundamental importance to the security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom.