Sacrifices of seafarers must be remembered
ON BEHALF of our members, we say thank you to The Herald for supporting our seafarers by covering our meeting in The Herald on February 19.
We also thank our guest speaker, Christine Rankin MBE from the MN Port Welfare Committee, Plymouth Watch Ashore, and Seafarers UK. To those that didn't come along or couldn't, they missed an excellent talk about our forgotten Merchant Navy and what's happening on welfare for Seafarers. No wonder she got an MBE was the view.
Having spent more then 40 years at sea and working for the now extinct National Union of Seamen, I and many others are appalled at the way the government have treated our seafarers so disgracefully. They didn't even show respect when they were desperately needed from the Battle of the Atlantic convoys, to the Gulf War, the Falklands crisis and so on, and on it goes.
In my retirement, I look back at the funerals I attended of West Country seafarers who lost their lives for their country. I wonder how many of Joe public know that 95 per cent of what we consume and use still comes to us by sea and its seafarers. I still get surprised by the many who don't know the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are all crewed by civilian merchant seafarers. I thank the Royal Navy who recognise they couldn't possibly manage without our MN seafarers. They (RFA) also lost lives and many down in the Falklands. The Government have re-paid them by allowing ship owners to register nearly all our UK ships in flags of convenience countries with foreign cheap labour crews! I don't think the editor will let me go on and on but there is much more, and regretfully it gets worse.
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May I end my truthful rant with some good news. On Sea Sunday, June 30, at 11.15am in the Minster Church of St Andrews, Plymouth, a big welcome to everyone who wants to support our seafarers at this very special service. Another for your diary is September 3 MN Day which will be celebrated at the MN memorial stone down at the Barbican near the Mayflower steps. More information will follow.
Chairman Merchant Navy and Merchant Seafarers Association Plymouth and South West