Nautilus International, representing maritime professionals in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, has urged the UK Government to ensure that British seafarer’s certificates will continue to be recognised within the European Union (EU) during and after Brexit.

The call was made in a letter sent to the UK shipping minister John Hayes, which requested that the government make its stance clear on how seafarers currently holding UK certificates will be able to continue to work on ships registered with other EU member states.

“We believe it is vital that the UK Government takes steps now to provide our members with certainty for the years ahead.”

The request was also made in the wake of a warning from the European Commission (EC) regarding ‘certain legal repercussions’ for the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates arising from the UK’s planned exit from the EU and its subsequent move to ‘third country’ status.

EC’s transport directorate previously noted that UK seafarer certificates will no longer be automatically recognised by the remaining 27 member states of the union following the UK’s withdrawal from EU.

Current UK certificates featuring an ‘endorsement attesting recognition’ will continue to be recognised until their expiry date, but will not be transferable between different EU flags.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “We believe it is vital that the UK Government takes steps now to provide our members with certainty for the years ahead and to ensure that Brexit does not create new barriers to their employment.”

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In addition, the union has also requested that the shipping minister consider the possibility of future recognition of UK seafarer certificates as part of any transition deal, as well as the contingencies in case of a ‘no deal’ scenario.