Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is the lifeblood of the UK economy and industry. 95% of Britain’s economic activity depends on the oceans. And every year Britain imports goods worth £524 billion.

The UK is so dependent on the seas for its prosperity, that without the Royal Navy acting as a deterrent the effect on the economy would be overwhelming.


Explore how we protect the UK economy.

Strategic positioning

The majority of maritime trade passes through a handful of global chokepoints. We strategically position our strength to send a potent message. What’s more, we’re on hand to halt situations from developing any further.

Global presence

Tensions threatening Britain’s interests can arise anywhere. Which is why the Royal Navy makes the most of our freedom to deploy globally. This allows us to curb destabilising behaviour and keep a watchful eye on areas key to the UK economy.

Stabilising hotspots

Aggressive posturing or loss of stability can have a knock-on effect on the availability and cost of resources. To prevent this from happening, the Royal Navy calms regions that are essential to the flow of goods and supplies, like the Gulf or West Africa.

Securing UK industry

Nearly half of all our food and energy is imported and 95% of trade reaches our shores by sea. By protecting critical shipping lanes the Royal Navy safeguards billions of pounds in revenue. UK-based shipping contributes £10 billion a year to GDP. 

operations Atlantic Patrol Tasking North

The APT(N) task centres on reassurance to UK overseas dependent territories, providing humanitarian and disaster relief during the main hurricane season (June to November) and conducting counter narcotic patrols as part of the wider international effort.

operations Fleet Ready Escort

The Fleet Ready Escort is at short notice to react to any maritime threat to the UK including terrorism and smuggling of arms or narcotics and the like. The Fleet Ready Escort will spend the majority of the year in and around UK waters conducting training and exercises with various UK and military agencies and organisations.

operations Operation 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.

Having warships present in the region is one of the main tools the UK has to show our commitment to this part of the world.

operations 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.

operations NATO Mine Counter-Measures 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.

Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.