The UK Chamber of Shipping – the Chamber of Commerce representing ship owners and managers in the city of London – has appointed Tom Boardley, managing director of Lloyd’s Register, as its new president.

In his inaugural speech in this new capacity, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was on the agenda as Boardley called for an overhaul and expressed the Chamber's desire for a restructuring of the agency. “A more responsive, proactive, accessible and business-friendly MCA will make us more competitive as a country,” he said. “It is as simple as that.”

Boardley’s refreshing call for change may be music to the ears for many in the superyacht industry, as the need for better suited rules and regulations for the Red Ensign superyacht fleet has been high on the agenda in recent times. With the superyacht industry gaining more recognition in the wider maritime sphere, the industry will be well placed to make its voice heard if change in the MCA does come about.

Tom Boardley, newly-elected president of the UK Chamber of Shipping. Image courtesy of the UK Chamber of Shipping

Following Boardley's speech, the Chamber's chief executive, Guy Platten, expressed a similar sentiment in response to a report published by the Transport Select Committee on shipping strategy. “Many shipping companies tell us that, despite the excellent work done recently by its Chief Executive, the [MCA] can be disjointed, enforcing regulation inconsistently across the country and, frankly, paying its skilled staff uncompetitive salaries," he said.

“The work that the MCA does is vital – and so the committee is right to say it should be properly resourced. But it must also become more commercially focused, acting not only as a regulator but as a facilitator It should do more to promote and support the UK flag and British maritime business around the world.

“We do not agree with the report’s findings that an independent review of the MCA is necessary. The UK Chamber of Shipping has recently set up a committee, jointly with the MCA, to review existing issues and help promote the UK as a maritime centre. So an independent review would simply spend thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to deliver the ideas we are already developing. The UK Chamber is committed to continuing its working relationship with the MCA, and in the months ahead we will be putting forward specific proposals as to how the MCA can best serve its customer base."

While the UK Chamber of Shipping is recognised by the government, the European Union and other international organisations as the focal point for consultation with the UK shipping industry on relevant policy and regulation, it will be of great importance that the superyacht industry takes advantage of the new era that the Chamber intends to bring about. Following the recent announcement that the Worldwide Yachting Association (MYBA) has been accepted into the Maritime Skills Alliance - a UK body hosted by the Chamber that creates qualifications for seafarers - steps are already being made in the right direction.

Profile links

UK Chamber of Shipping

MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency / Ensign

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