MCA celebrates a record-breaking year for innovation and safety despite global pandemic

Published: 22/11/2021

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published their annual report highlighting the vital work they undertook during a challenging 12-month period.

Amongst the roster of work over the past year, the MCA repatriated seafarers from across the world including those not on the UK flag, oversaw the UK Ship Register ranked as first on the Paris Memorandum of Understanding league table of high performing Flag States and dealt with its busiest summer on record.

As well as taking on this critical work it was still business as usual for the MCA responding to more than 33,000 incidents at the coast spurred on by record breaking numbers of people visiting the UK coasts.

These crucial rescue activities were supported by the rollout of brand-new British-built helicopters which began search and rescue operations from ten of HM Coastguard’s bases across the UK. The Leonardo AW189 helicopters provided a dedicated helicopter resource to support the National Health Service with the transfer of patients between hospitals as part of the pandemic response.

MCA are set to continue this critical work with the next generation of the coastguard search and rescue aviation programme under way.

Brian Johnson, Chief Executive of the MCA, said: “I’m always proud of all those who work and serve with and for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency but during the global pandemic I became even more proud of all we were able to do and achieve despite immense challenges.

“We will continue to work towards creating sustainable shipping and I’m excited about all we’ve been doing in fields like decarbonization and autonomous shipping. I’m also proud to have seen how Her Majesty’s Coastguard met the challenges of increased visitor numbers while providing a first-class search and rescue response in the face of that.

“As this report demonstrates, we – as an agency – continue to keep protecting the general public with our first-class search and rescue service. Elsewhere, good work has and is continuing to take place across the board, including creating online solutions for seafarer examinations, campaigns to drive down deaths in the fishing industry and bringing some vital regulation into law.

“It’s been a tough year, but not even a global pandemic can prevent us from driving forward public safety and technical innovation in maritime."

The annual report which covers April 2020 to March 2021 also highlighted the role investment in new technology, training and innovation has played in keeping the MCA at the forefront of the maritime world.

MCA plans to continue capitalising on this as it drives forward the sustainable shipping agenda and works with those looking to create autonomous vessels to find practical solutions in safety.

The full Maritime & Coastguard Agency Annual Report and Accounts is available on the GOV.UK website.