Liberal Democrat candidate for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed the release of the UK Chamber of Shipping's "Stand up for Shipping" manifesto, but said that this must be the start of a more urgent dialogue around UK shipping.
Mr. Carmichael said:
"Orkney and Shetland are two communities which have for generations produced people who have gone to sea to make their living in our merchant fleet. Recent decades have seen the opportunities in the merchant navy dwindle. Some efforts have been made to improve the opportunities and the working conditions for young officers, but much more needs to be done.”
“There are a few quick and easy wins that any government could deliver here. They could, for example, give serious attention to enforcement of minimum wage legislation. We have seen crew working on boats providing the freight service for the Northern Isles, paid for by the Scottish Government, being paid as little as £3.71 an hour. To consider that as a route outside U.K. territorial waters, as HMRC does, is a nonsense.
“As MP I have worked with unions and the shipping industry bodies to ensure that North Sea shipping is successful for both shipping workers and our economy as a whole.”
"This election is the right time to bring shipping back into the heart of our political debate.
"There are massive advantages to ship owners and operators that come from flying under the red ensign. These advantages should also extend to deck hands and officers. North Sea shipping should be a success for everyone involved."