The legal impact of brexit
on seafarers’ employment
* Professor at the University of Hull. Director of International Legal Research,
Centre for Legislative Studies, School of Law and Politics.
Summary: 1. P. 2. W B? 3. P C-
. 3.1. Organisation of Working Time of Seafarers, Sea Fishing and Oshore
workers. 3.2. Employer Insolvency. 3.3. European Works Councils. 3.4. Informa-
tion and Consultation. 3.5. Collective Redundancies. 3.6. Transfer of Undertak-
ings. 4. E.
From early times when carved tree trunks and rafts were used by
our ancestors to cross rivers, estuaries and narrow sea promontories to
carry people and goods, there has since developed a signicant merchant
navy consisting, inter alia, of tankers, passenger ships, lift on/ lift o
(Lo-Lo) container ships, roll on/ roll o (Ro-Ro) ferries, etc… Some of
the larger container ships may carry as many as 21,000 containers while
274 RETOS PRESENTES Y FUTUROS DE LA POLÍTICA MARÍTIMA INTEGRADA DE LA UNIÓN EUROPEA
tankers have the capacity to carry some two million barrels of oil at a
time. British shipping carries over 95% of goods in the European and
e British Merchant Navy1 has existed over a signicant period
of British history2 owing much of its growth to British Imperial expan-
sion in the 19th century. During that period the Merchant Navy grew
to become the world’s foremost merchant eet beneting considerably
through trade with British possessions in India,3 the Middle East, the
Far East and its other territories in the world.
By the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century the
British merchant eet lost much of its past dominance of the seas and
consisted in 2010 of 504 UK registered ships of 1,000 gross registered
tonnes (GRT) or over. In addition, merchant marine interests possessed
a further 308 ships of 1,000 GRT or over, registered in other countries
and 271 foreign-owned ships registered in the UK.4 is includes either
UK directly owned ships, parent owned or ships managed by a British
company. is amounts to 59,413,000 GRT, alternatively 75,265,000
dead weight tonnes. (DWT).5
Although in 2016 the UK enjoyed being the 19th largest global
trading eet, it nevertheless remains a major maritime centre dealing
in ship chartering, insurance and shipping law, as well as actual vessels.
1 is title was originally bestowed on the British merchant eet by King George
V following its service in the First World War.
2 In the 17th and 18th centuries British ships were involved in piracy and armed
robbery on the high seas o the Caribbean and European waters.
3 For example the lucrative trade in tea from India, sugar and spices from the Far
East and even contraband goods (such as opium) to China.
4 Source: Merchant Marine: United Kingdom. CIA World Fact Book (2010).
5 Source: Annual maritime shipping statistics provided by the Department of
Transport of the British Government. Shipping Fleet 2012.