Provost Jim Todd, a former seaman himself, was called on to hoist the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day and raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.
The Council was supporting a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council, welcomed guests to the flag raising ceremony and Provost Jim Todd read out a message from the charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex which said: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.”
As an ‘island nation’ the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95% of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe with 75% of our exports being shipped from UK ports, some of which supported the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on Merchant Navy Day.
Provost Todd, who raised the ‘Red Duster’, said: “We were pleased to support Merchant Navy Day which provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the real importance of our merchant shipping industry. Being an island nation, the vast majority of goods arriving or leaving from the UK do so by sea. We have always been significant and successful maritime nation and it’s good to recognise the work of our merchant fleet both now and in the future.”
For further information, visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day