Chemring Marine has joined the call for a single Maritime Minister to provide a coordinated approach to the industry.

Managing director Robert Hill raised the issue at a House of Commons lunch with major shipbuilding industry figures. He joined UK ministers Ian Lucas, Nick Brown and MP Chris Mullin, along with other key maritime policymakers at the Shipbuilders’ and Shiprepairers’ Association (SSA) networking lunch.

“We believe that there is a need for a coordinated UK approach to the maritime industry, similar to the aviation sector, and requested that the Government give consideration to a single Minister for Maritime, covering vessel legislation, equipment regulation and coastal infrastructure,” says Hill.

The issue has also been discussed by the recently formed Marine Industries Leadership Council (MILC), of which Hill is a delegate because of his role as chair of the Marine Sector Advisory Group (MSAG). He leads the international and export contribution to the strategy document due to be presented to Business Secretary Peter Mandelson before the end of the year.

Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform, Ian Lucas MP, and Alan Johnston, CEO of BAE Surface Fleet, co-chair the MILC, which aims to develop a coherent UK marine industrial strategy. Many MILC delegates were at the lunch and the SSA sits on the MILC and the MSAG.

Bringing the maritime industry together

The purpose of the Shipbuilders’ and Shiprepairers’ Association is to bring together the major maritime players, the wider industry, MPs and others to allow the industry to network and express views.

Following the lunch, the SSA was invited by MP Nick Brown to represent the key issues faced by the industry and to discuss how the government can further support it.

SSA president Alan Dickinson says: “The SSA looks to the Government to offer support to a sector which contributes significantly to UK’s engineering expertise. The industry is at the cutting edge of technology with successful contracts in place for new warships for the UK and export markets. The overall turnover in the SSA sector alone is in excess of £1bn with a future order book of £5bn. Currently there are more than 10,000 people employed in the UK, with over 400 apprentices in training. This is not part of an industry in the twilight of its existence.”

Chemring Marine is at the forefront of campaigning for improved global marine safety regulations, including standardised rules on replacing dated safety products. The company, based in Fareham, UK, is part of the Chemring Group PLC and is the world’s leading supplier of SOLAS, MED and USCG-approved marine distress signals to commercial and leisure marine markets through the Pains Wessex and Comet brands.

Chemring Marine’s comprehensive range of products, available through over 200 distributors in more than 80 countries, has helped to save lives for more than 100 years and is specified by the world’s navies, merchant fleets, fishing vessels, rescue services, airlines and leisure craft.