Above: The Red Ensign flag flying on a boat

Chelmsford City Council will be supporting Merchant Navy Day by flying the Red Ensign flag on Friday 3 September. The flag will be raised on the Council’s flagpole at the Civic Centre to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers and show gratitude for all they do.

The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Jude Deakin, is 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 Deakin says: “The date was chosen because on that day in 1939, the first day of The Second World War, SS Athenia was the first merchant ship to be torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 128 passengers and crew. During the two world wars, the British public realised that without merchant ships, the UK would soon be starved of food and essential supplies.”

As an ‘island nation’ the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75 per cent of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports. Some ports are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on 3 September.

Read more about Merchant Navy Day and how you can show support to seafarers at: www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.

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