Sir Christopher Will Rely on Diplomacy to Bolster Shipping Industry

The Birmingham Post (England), April 18, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Sir Christopher Will Rely on Diplomacy to Bolster Shipping Industry


Diplomacy is not a trait one expects in a direct descendant of the 17th century English pirate Henry Morgan, who cut a swathe through Spain's Caribbean colonies.

Yet Sir Christopher Morgan says he will need copious diplomatic skills rather than a buccaneer's elan as he leads a campaign to gain Government support for the British shipping industry.

Mr Morgan, recently appointed director-general of UK ship-owners' trade association The Chamber of Shipping, is anxious to bolster Britain's shrinking shipping industry.

"Henry Morgan was a master tactician and developed a tremendous reputation for doing the unexpected," Mr Morgan said. "I hope to be a little more diplomatic in my dealings with Government."

The British-owned merchant fleet has shrunk 70 per cent since 1980 to 11 million dead-weight tonnes and the number of British seafarers has fallen to 20,000 from 52,000 over the same period, the chamber says.

The balance of payments contribution from shipping has fallen by 65 per cent in real terms, although it remains the fifth-largest service sector earner for Britain with a net pounds 2.6 billion per year, ahead of telecommunications, film and television a nd computer services.

"Our argument is that with a little help we can make major strides on our own," said Mr Morgan. "The earnings that would flow to the UK as a result would make it genuinely worthwhile.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for British shipping that the Government has to help us seize."

Mr Morgan, aged 58, retired from the Royal Navy last year after 40 years' service.

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Sir Christopher Will Rely on Diplomacy to Bolster Shipping Industry
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