Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is essential to the British way of life, with a huge 95% of Britain’s economic activity depending on the oceans. We import goods worth a breathtaking £524 billion every year – including around half of our food and fuel – so freedom of the seas is truly essential to the UK’s continued prosperity and comfort.

Key activities

Protecting our economy

Strategic positioning

The majority of maritime trade passes through a handful of global chokepoints. We position our strength to safeguard these vital areas, promising safe passage and encouraging free trade. By being on-hand to act in an instant if necessary, we keep the lifeblood of the UK economy – maritime trade – moving freely.

£524 million

goods imported into the UK every year.

77

commissioned ships in the Naval Service.

95%

of Britain's economic activity depends on the oceans.

Protecting our economy

Stabilising hotspots

Instability is the enemy of prosperity. It increases both the cost and availability of resources. So in areas where aggressive posturing and potential conflict are a reality, the Royal Navy is on hand to prevent problems before they start. We work proactively – often in partnership with other nations – to maintain the smooth flow of goods and supplies in regions including the Gulf and West Africa.

1980

began permanent 24/7 patrol in the Gulf.

30

nations collaborate to ensure stability.

4

Minehunters ensure safe passage through Gulf shipping lanes.

Protecting our economy

Global presence

Tensions threatening Britain’s interests can arise anywhere at any time. A visible presence the world over helps us curb destabilising behaviour and keep a watchful eye on areas key to the UK’s economic prosperity. From the Caribbean to the Antarctic to the Gulf of Aden, we’re poised, present and prepared to act in our nation’s interests. 

24/7/365

on call to deploy anywhere in the world.

30

nations collaborate to ensure stability.

77

ships make our presence is truly global.

Protecting our economy

Securing UK industry

By protecting critical shipping lanes the Royal Navy safeguards billions of pounds in revenue. If we didn’t, you’d notice the difference on your plate and in your pocket. Nearly half of all our food and energy is imported and 95% of trade reaches our shores by sea. Meanwhile, UK-based shipping contributes £10 billion a year to GDP… that’s more than agriculture! 

£10 billion

UK-based shipping contributes £10 billion a year to GDP.

50%

Nearly half of all our food and energy is imported - imagine the impact if this was interrupted.

95%

95% of trade reaches our shores by sea.

Select a location to explore our operations

 

South Atlantic

Atlantic Patrol Tasking

Ships and units on Atlantic Patrol Tasking provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British interests in the Atlantic, maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic. 

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Middle East

Kipion

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980, after the Iran/Iraq conflict of that year, and more recently operations have extended further south with the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast. 

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Middle East

Kipion MCMV

In support of wider British efforts in the region, minehunters are providing the capability to conduct route survey, sea-bed clearance, and mine clearance operations all over the Gulf. 

The operation also aims to provide a visible naval presence in a region where stability and good relations with local nations is vital. Much of the UK’s oil and gas, as well as other products, come from the Gulf region and as such these efforts are of vital importance to our economy and lifestyle.

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Arctic

Nato MCMV Force

The RN has always supplied an MCMV to one of the two NATO Mine Counter-Measures Squadrons. These are six-month deployments as part of the NATO Standing MCM Groups and will generally be around the coasts of Northern Europe or the Mediterranean depending upon the squadron in which the RN ship is working. 

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Preventing conflict

A vital element of the Royal Navy’s role is keeping the peace, preventing conflict and containing situations before they develop.

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Operation Kipion

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980 – we’re part of a 30-nation combined force to stabilise and keep the peace.

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