The Government has unveiled a strategy to position the UK as a global test-bed for emerging technology and innovation in the maritime industry after Brexit.
Launched last week, Maritime 2050 is intended to make the country a world leader in the global maritime industry for the next 30 years.
It sets out a raft of pro-posals to keep the industry flourishing; these include establishing an innovation hub at one of the UK’s ports, exploring ways to clean up maritime emissions, and improving the training available to seafarers.
New legislation will introduce a domestic framework for autonomous vessels, with a view to making the UK the best place to trial this technology.
In the area of maritime training, the Government will establish a Maritime Skills Commission to investigate the use of innovations like virtual and augmented reality.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Maritime is a vital UK industry, bringing in £14 billion to our economy, as well as providing thousands of new and exciting careers for people around the country.
"This strategy is a clear message to the world — we will continue to be a leading maritime nation for the next 30 years and beyond.
"We will be at the forefront of emerging technology and seafarer training, and we will capitalise on selling this expertise to companies around the world.”
Hugh McNeal, chairman of the expert panel convened for Maritime 2050, said: “Over the last year, it has been a privilege to chair the expert panel that has brought together leaders from across the sector, from other world-class industries, academia and promotional bodies, to challenge and support the development of Maritime 2050.
"The result is a wide-ranging and hugely ambitious blueprint for Britain’s future as a maritime nation, ensuring that the economy continues to grow successfully into the second half of the 21st century.”
Harry Theochari, the recently appointed chairman of Maritime UK, said: “For the first time, the maritime sector has a real long-term strategy — setting out what the Government and industry will do to position the UK as the world’s leading maritime nation over the coming decades in an increasingly competitive global context.
"There are monumental opportunities for our sector — whether on technology, coastal economic development or attracting more maritime business to our shores.”
This initiative follows research showing that by 2030, the global maritime economy will have doubled in value to $3 trillion.