The Royal Navy has admitted that its new ‘hot shipping’ scheme, which is currently under trial, may lead to low staff morale.
The initiative means that Navy crews will change vessels after every mission as part of an efficiency and cost-cutting drive. Once an operational tour is complete, a new crew will be flown in to replace the original one.
The Navy has historically assigned permanent crews to vessels, and there are concerns that the new scheme may affect performance levels if crews are unfamiliar with a ship’s equipment.
Having been tested on smaller vessels, a trial is currently taking place on two bigger ships: destroyers HMS Exeter and HMS Edinburgh.
A Navy spokesman told Personnel Today: “These ships have new equipment that enables them to be out at sea for longer periods, which means that people have now become the limiting factor.
“A sense of ownership and the bond between ship and crew may be compromised, which will need to be addressed. However, this trial is still in progress, and we do not know how it may or may not affect morale.”
Guidelines are already in place specifically designed to safeguard morale, he added. “Most notably that no individual should spend more than 660 days in any three years away from home.”