National and Regional Government Bodies

The Parliamentary Maritime Group

Background of Organisation

The Parlimentray Maritime group is an All-Party back bench Information Group. It was formed in 1984 at the instigation of the then Rt. Hon. James Callaghan MP ( now, as Lord Callaghan of Cardiff KG, Founder President of the Group), The Rt Hon. Dr. David Owen MP and the Rt. Hon Edward Du Cann MP. The Group, like others, is registered with te Commons Administration Committee, and has a Constitution modelled closely on that of the long standing Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, which strives to cover the whole spectrum of science and technology, and led to the formation of the Parliamentary Office of Science and technology (POST), funded by Parliament since 1 April 1993.

The Group's membership now totals some 550 Peers, MPs and MEPs, outside bodies and companies. The President is Lord Donaldson of Lymington and current chairman Peter Bottomley MP, a former Conservative Minister. The Steering Committee comprises of members from all three Chambers of Parliament and from the outside member bodies. Of particular importance are the 120 or so companies, professional bodies, consultancies, research organisations, commercial associations and other active maritime business, amongst the current Outside Membership. Notices of activities are circulated to over 800 people.

Organisational Objectives

The Group's primary purpose is to provide Peers and Members of Parliament at Westminster, and Members of the European Parliament with timely information about current issues, problems, and sometimes crises affecting national interests in the sea, in maritime or related industries and activities including defence safety and the conduct of operations at sea, the marine environment, and any other related matters of public concern and importance. It is a point of contact between parliamentarians and those involved in and concerned about maritime affairs: senior executives, administrators, academics. others engaged in maritime industry, commerce, finance, law and other services, research, technology, several professional bodies and unions, also other organisations concerned with the sea and related activities.

Relevant Policies, Projects & Activities

Activities include monthly meetings while parliament sitting, occasionally a half- or one-day conference or visit. Subjects covered have included shipping, Thames river uses, the Chunnel versus ferries, defence, ports and pilotage, fisheries and the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)- presently in crisis- shipbuilding, safety at sea, bulk carriers, piracy, classification and insurance, the Baltic Exchange, the EC's common maritime transport policy, the UN Law of the Sea Convention 1982-entered force on 16 November 1994 (the UK adhered on 24 August 1997), followed by the so-called Straddle Stock Agreement extending control over High Seas fish (in force 11/12/01), subsea oil and gas, also minerals, physical energy resource, submarine cables, INMARSAT, GPS, AIS and SOLAS, co-ordination of government maritime policy, hydrography, meteorology, coastal protection, ports, manpower, education and training, marine science and technology in the UK, the British Atlantic Survey, the marine environment, the National Maritime Museum, the need for future European co-operation in defence procurement, logistic support of the armed forces, the Royal Navy Presentation Team. The Group has been addressed by a number of UK ministers, by an EC Commissioner for Transport and other officials.