Nautilus, the international maritime union, formerly known as Numast, has expressed its concerns after members of the union were contacted by Stena, informing them that the Line may consider re-flagging its vessels from the British flag.
Stena, which operates ferries around the UK and has a shipmanagement arm in Clydebank, Scotland, is a big player in the British merchant world.
Nautilus called for calm among British shipowners in the wake of the referendum vote in favour of the UK's exit from the European Union.
In a letter to the UK Chamber of Shipping, general secretary Mark Dickinson said he hoped the organisation could provide reassurance and leadership in the face of ‘damaging uncertainty’ over the impact of the Brexit vote for British seafarers and British shipping.
Mr Dickinson said he was surprised the Chamber had remained neutral ahead of the referendum vote when so many organisations and prominent industry figures, including shipping minister Robert Goodwill and the Lord Mayor of the City of London, had warned of the potentially adverse effects for the UK maritime sector.
He urged Chamber CEO Guy Platten to ‘provide a clear message on behalf of British shipowners that the UK maritime industry remains open for business — with a continued commitment to shared policy objectives of growing the national flag fleet and regenerating the pool of British seafarers’.
And he added: ‘Many of our members have made huge sacrifices to retain their jobs and to ensure the survival of their companies. It is essential that they are given an emphatic signal of support from shipowners and that concerns are not fuelled by rash statements or pre-emptive actions.’
Shipping Times contacted Northern Marine Management in Clydebank, but so far they have declined to answer any questions regarding Stena's statements.