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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (various projects)

Programme Type
Funding organisation
National (United Kingdom)
United Kingdom
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STRIA Roadmaps


Background & Policy context

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) was established in 1998, to integrate the services provided by the two former Agencies: the Coastguard Agency and Marine Safety Agency.

MCA’s research programme aims to:

  • provide a robust evidence base to underpin MCA work;
  • identify the need for or reinforce national policy change;
  • inform the UK's influence on international policy change;
  • address MAIB or other government recommendations;
  • deliver and disseminate quality outcomes for the benefit of the maritime community;
  • work with national and global partners to encourage a more collaborative and cooperative approach to maritime research

The programme is closely linked with MCA business planning activities and is informed by the outcomes of the resaerch strategy forum held at the beginning of each financial year with MCA senior management and representatives from our external partners, and the wider research community. 


Strategic Objectives

The agency has four Outcomes which are relevant to their work and provide a broad indication of effectiveness. Although they have no direct control over the Outcomes (that rests, for example, with the operators of ships) they continue to work with the industry to influence marine safety and pollution prevention, particularly at the regulatory level. One of the ways in which they try to influence trends over time is through their work at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), where they aim to secure widespread compliance with international shipping regulations and operational best practice. When fully justified, they also make proposals for new regulations and comment on proposals made by other IMO Member States. They also seek to influence developments at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) where issues concerning the rights of seafarers are discussed.

The outcomes are:

  • Outcome 1: A reduced rate of accidents, and accident related deaths, involving UK Registered merchant ships and fishing vessels.
  • Outcome 2: A reduced number of accidents, and deaths resulting from accidents, within the UK Search and Rescue Region and Coastline.
  • Outcome 3: A reduced number of incidents of pollution from shipping activities in the UK pollution control zone.
  • Outcome 4: An enhanced safety record for the Red Ensign Fleet. The Red Ensign Fleet consists of Category One Registers comprising the UK, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

The Ministerial Targets are set for the agency by the Secretary of State and address areas of concern in the Business Plan year. Their performance will be judged by the extent to which they meet these Ministerial Targets:

  1. In at least 96% of incidents, within 5 minutes of being alerted, take a decision on the appropriate search and rescue response and initiate action if necessary. 
  2. Deliver at least 97% of planned ship inspections, and ensure that 95% of mandatory expanded inspections are carried out. 
  3. Approve ship security plans and undertake verifications of all applicable UK registered cargo ships.
  4. Establish a baseline for the level of seafarer customer satisfaction with our certification and documentation services. 
  5. Develop a robust statistical base and design a system which will allow the Agency to measure accurately the impact of its incident prevention activity. 
  6. Ensure that no more than 3% of UK ships inspected under
Programme organisation

For business year 2005/6 it is proposed to spend in the region of £1million.


The Agency's ongoing research in 2005/2006 includes:


  1. Environmental Protection:
  • Mapping Ecological Sites for National Contingency Planning
  • Very Heavy Fuel Oil - UK SPill Risk Assessment
  • Marine Environment High Risk Areas - East Coast Survey
  • The Impact of the Port Waste Reception Facilites Regulations 2003 on UK Ports, Terminals and Harbours - one year on
  • The Impact of the Port Waste Reception Facilites Regulations 2003 on Vessels Entering and Trading Between UK Ports and Terminals - one year on
  • Data Mining Study of Project 480 (Potential Ecological Effects on Chemically Dispersed and Biodegraded Oils)
  • Accident Prevention
    • Study Info Safe Manning Requirements in European Waters
  • Seafarer/Fisherman Safety
    • Fatigue, Health and Injury among Merchant Seafarers
  • Vessel Safety
    • Dynamic Stability in Following/Quartering Seas
    • Sponsor of Lectureship at Strathclyde University
  • Navigation Safety
    • Radar Performance Test Methods


    The Agency's proposed research priority areas and projects for 2005/2006 are:


    1. Accident Prevention
    • A continuous joint customer survey of UK maritime Sport and Leisure population and participation rates
    • Development of guidance for the mitigation of human error in automated ship-bourne maritime systems
    • Development of a human cognition workload assessment tool
    • Organisational Structures: the influence of internal company management structures and external industry structures on safety management performance
  • Vessel Safety
    • Research into Stability Criteria for Large Sailing Vessels
    • Survey of composite masts and spars used on large yachts
    • Impact Assessment on the design of new cruise liners, ro-ro passenger ships and cargo vessels of the forthcoming revision to SOLAS Ch II-1, part A, B & B1 relating to subdivision an probabilistic damage stability
    • Development of Lifeboat Design
    • Suitability of Stability Criteria applied to Small Fishing Vessels and associated Survivability
  • Environmental Protection
    • Development of new protocols for oil spill clean up techniques


    Institution Type
    Type of funding
    Public (national/regional/local)
    Programme funding arrangements and funding conditions


    Participating countries
    United Kingdom

    Projects covered

    No projects covered for this programme.


    Ms Kirsten Pointer
    Evidence Analysis and Research
    Maritime & Coastguard Agency
    SO15 1EG
    Organisation Website

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