The UK’s national union of rail, maritime and transport workers, RMT, has said that new Atlantic Container Line (ACL) UK flagged vessels are not employing seafarers from the country.

The union has also alleged that the entire fleet of ACL’s five new ro-ro container ships, including the Atlantic Star, Atlantic Sail, Atlantic Sea, Atlantic Sky, and Atlantic Sun, will not have a single UK seafarer working on-board.

However, all the vessels are being registered in the UK’s Port of Liverpool.

"Shipping bosses cannot be allowed to employ the cheapest labour they can find in a race to the bottom to secure profits."

Protesting the discrimination against UK Seafarers, RMT members are planning to stage a demonstration on 25 October at the Cruise Liner Terminal, Pier Head, Liverpool.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The Government’s policy is to double the amount of tonnage registered under the UK Flag by 2020. This could be a golden opportunity to rebuild UK seafarer numbers and preserve the trade for future generations.

“Shipping bosses cannot be allowed to employ the cheapest labour they can find in a race to the bottom to secure profits, while they destroy the domestic shipping industry, all the under the UK Flag.

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“It is vital for the future of the seafaring industry in this country that there are UK seafarer jobs and training on UK Flagged ships, in addition to onshore jobs in maritime business and port services.”

Recently, ACL invested £400m to build a new container terminal at Liverpool2.

RMT said that depending upon leave patterns, training and turnover, the five new ACL container ships will require a total of 300 crew working on-board.

The number of seafarers has reduced by 60% since the early 1980s, and by 13% since 2011 to 23,380 by June 2015.