Shipping Minister John Hayes wants to increase the amount of trade carried under the ‘Red Duster’ as the government is working to double the size of the UK Ship Register from 16 to 30 million gross tonnage

According to a statement:

“After we leave and build a new partnership with the EU – propelling the UK from 15th place into the top 10 global maritime nations. This will be good for the UK, helping boost trade and exports, create jobs and ultimately boost the economy across the UK.”

Maritime Minister John Hayes will use next week’s London International Shipping Week to start the drive for new business, selling the main benefits of flying the British flag including:

  • International tax breaks for vessels flying the Duster
  • British consular support for ships in foreign docks
  • The protection of the Royal Navy

Shipping Week is expected to feature ministers from up to 50 nations around the world and up to 15,000 high level shipping delegates.

Maritime Minister John Hayes said:

“In Britain’s post Brexit future we will grow the Red Duster, forging new global relationships. Our ship register has a special significance and our flag is of distinct quality. Unfurling the Red Duster shows Britain’s maritime leadership to the world. Once again Britannia rules the waves and the UK will be a dominant maritime force.”

The UK Ship Register team has taken great strides to ensure the Red Ensign is more commercially attractive to a 21st century shipping community. For instance, the register’s customer account managers are available around the clock to registered vessels, meaning doing business has never been easier.

The register shows the size of the fleet, measured by the number of vessels and by gross tonnage. It grew by 11.5% between 2015 and 2017.

New-build vessels registered from companies such as Atlantic Container Lines, Stena and Stolt Tankers helped increase the UK’s gross tonnage from 14,470,895 to 16,067,921 over the last 2 years.

Overseen by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the ship register has a reputation for maintaining the highest international standards ever since it was established by an act of King George III in 1785.

On top of the prestige of donning what the government say is the world’s most recognisable maritime flag, vessels carrying the Red Duster will benefit from British consular support, a world class tonnage tax regime and low registration, survey and certification costs with no annual renewal fees.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
geoffrey james roach

Absolutely brilliant. As a Liverpool supporter “up the reds” (duster)!


Sounds a lot but with current ship sizes it won’t take too many big ships to reach target.

Underlines personal view that fewer bigger ships operating on a JIT economy it represents a far greater risk to the UK than is recognised.


“Once again Britannia rules the waves” – cringe

geoffrey james roach

The seas were a lot safer when we did.


@Mr Roach well they are pretty safe now. Point out please in the last 70 years (save Somali/Malacca Straits piracy) where shipping has been disrupted. And when it has in both cases allowing merchant vessels to carry armed defence teams and international naval collaboration has done the job of policing. Which of course the RN is a apart of.

best Tim62

Kari Reinikainen

Dos the minister mean ships registered in the mainland UK or do the figures include the Isle of Man, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar? All have their own register, but the ship’s in them fly the British flag.

Kari Reinikainen



Rule Britannia! Anyone who thinks this is cringe worthy, well, all I can say is what a foolish attitude!


It is foolish. Britannia doesn’t rule anything. Not the seas.


He talks about protection of our merchant ships by the Royal Navy. Has he any idea how tiny the RN is, missing essential equipment, underfunded & understaffed?

geoffrey james roach

….and probably the second most powerful in the world, when POW arrives and certainly one of the most modern. THINK POSITIVE.

Levi Goldsteinberg

How can we be the second most powerful when by the end of the year we won’t even have the ability to sink enemy ships?

Simon Yip

I would say that the Chinese PLA Navy is the second strongest navy in the world, the last 15-20 years has seen literally hundreds of new vessels built (from SSBN, SSK, SSN, CV (3-4 in service/under construction) LSH (3 u/c), LSD, LST, DDG/FFG/FSG (nearly 150), FAC-M, MCMV, OPV, research and survey vessels, training ships, auxiliaries, stores and transport vessels, etc. Between 500-600 combatants and 300-500 auxiliaries and support vessels (depending on which sources are used). The CCG coast guard, MSA maritime safety organisation, CRS rescue fleet, maritime police and border police also operate hundreds of ocean going patrol, rescue, research,… Read more »