Merchant Navy Day to lift career awareness

Posted: 09/01/2011 in all marine news

Maritime Journal –

A group of veteran seafarers are encouraging youngsters to consider what has become an important but ‘forgotten profession’ as the UK prepares to celebrate Merchant Navy Day on Saturday 3 September.

Residents at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, a Surrey based home which provides dedicated accommodation and care to former seafarers and their dependants, said there is not enough awareness of the important role the Merchant Navy plays in our society among the younger generation.

The Merchant Navy has kept citizens in the UK fed, clothed and equipped for over 200 years, not to mention being a lynchpin of the economy, delivering overseas sales to every corner of the world. Today, 95% of UK imports and 75% of UK exports still travel by ship, with a fast growing need for energy imports by sea set to increase in coming years.

Yet, despite this, interest in this important industry as a career is surprisingly lacking, with a quarter of children believing the film character Captain Jack Sparrow to be Britain’s most famous seaman while a third of adults did not know that the Merchant Navy transports cargo and passengers to and from the UK.

Captain Roy Davis, a resident at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, worked in the Merchant Navy for 45 years and had some of the best experiences of his life traveling the world from Russia to South America, transporting all manner of goods from sheep to missiles.

He said, “I rather think it’s a forgotten profession. When I went to sea the British Merchant Navy was the biggest in the world and in every single village there was at least a couple of people that went to sea. The opportunities are not broadcast as they used to be and young people are missing out on the travel, broadening their outlook and seeing how people in other parts of the world live.”

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