To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance has been given to the British shipping sector to train and employ British seafarers. 
The Government's Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings. Following a review in 2000 and receipt of EU State Aids clearance in 2001, additional courses were included and the levels of funding increased to cover around 50 per cent. of the costs of training.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the OECD report on Availability and Training of Seafarers; and if he will make a statement. 
I welcome the OECD report as a valuable contribution to the debate on means of increasing the training and employment of seafarers. In particular, I note the support for measures such as tonnage taxes, initiatives to promote maritime careers, and the need to ensure training for future jobs ashore normally filled by ex-seafarers. These accord with United Kingdom policy.