Ships are abandoning Great Britain's ship register in huge numbers, which puts pressure on the country's maritime cluster. This is particularly affecting the maritime service sector, reports The Economist. While popular shipping registers Panama and Liberia have long since surpassed Great Britain as preferred flags for shipowners, this new decline is nevertheless seen as alarming. Last year, the number of flagged ships dropped by 17 percent and since 2009 the register has lost a quarter of its tonnage.
Between 2010 and 2014, 465 ships disappeared from the register. According to The Economist, half of the ships were scrapped or sold on, while the rest were flagged elsewhere. Singapore took a good third of the ships. The decline is prompting concern within the industry, who fear damage to Great Britain's maritime service sector, which currently generates GBP 8.5 billion a year.