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Options for vital at-sea training berths are limited. To meet this need, a UK organisation has launched a ship-based concept designed to support training requirements

Securing quality training berths for cadets is always a challenge. For the UK, it looked set to get even harder when in 2018, the government announced plans to boost funds for UK seafarer training and drastically increase its annual intake of cadets from 750 to 1,200 over seven years. More cadets would be fighting over those limited at-sea training opportunities.

However, a scheme to pilot “industrial placements” for UK cadets is hoping to resolve this. In September 2019, Britannia Maritime Aid (BMA) launched a new concept for a non-military, civilian-manned ship that it plans to build and operate by 2024, which will not only provide at-sea capacity for basic and applied seafarer training and seagoing service (or ‘sea time’), but also support for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

For HADR operations, the 150 m ship would initially be Caribbean-based, supporting such operations at a time when natural disasters in the region are increasing in number and impact. Its presence would also ease pressure on the Royal Navy’s disaster relief work in the region.

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