Supplementary Memorandum by Dr David Glen
The analysis of ratings numbers proved to be
the most problematic in the study. This was primarily because
of the largely casual system of manning ships with ratings which
implies that such ratings can and do leave the industry at any
point in their sea career. Secondly, exiting the industry is not
recorded, despite the requirement of a considerable amount of
statutory documentation regarding employment as a seafarer; for
example, the need to possess a current seaman's discharge book
issued by the department through the Registry of Shipping and
Seamen, and to "sign articles" for a voyage.
I examined the possibility of going through
the individual records on seafarers held by the Registry of Shipping
and Seamen, Cardiff. The Registry holds such details that it has
in individual folders. As an experiment, two research assistants
were asked to sample a number of such "pouches". They
looked at approximately 3,000, and found virtually no useable
information in those pouches. The approach was abandoned as being
An alternative approach to the problem of enumerating
ratings was needed. The study combined two approaches to this
problem. Firstly, the database of the National Union of Railway
Maritime Transport Workers was made available. This consisted
of approximately 7,000 records relating to individuals who were
members of the maritime section of the union at the census date.
Unfortunately, on closer inspection of the data, it proved difficult
to derive accurate information about occupational categories from
this source. Moreover, the lack of knowledge of the degree of
unionisation among ratings meant that it was not possible to draw
firm conclusions about ratings numbers.
However, some useful information was derived
from this source; primarily, the estimated split between deck
and engine room ratings and those employed in the catering department,
along with useful data on age distributions.
The second approach was to use data derived
from past Fleet and Manpower Inquiries, and government surveys
on the non-federated sector, and apply econometric methods to
the numbers derived therefrom. The data derived from these sources
were combined to provide the basis for time series estimation
of total ratings numbers.
This method permits an estimate of ratings numbers,
but provides no information as to their age distribution, gender
mix, and occupational categories. The first two of these were
estimated in the study via the RMT database.
In summary-the problem with ratings is that
their period at sea is very variable, and their period of training
is very short-so few records are kept which are readily available.
8 February 1999