Clacton Town Hall raised the Red Ensign flag today (Friday, 3 September) to mark Merchant Navy Day.
Tendring District Council (TDC) Chairman Jeff Bray paid tribute to the seafarers of the Merchant Navy at the short ceremony as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the UK's ongoing dependence on the maritime fleet.
Before raising the Red Ensign, Councillor Bray read a message from the charity's president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, saying:
“On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope that you will support this campaign by Seafarers UK to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.
“Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service, by raising the Red Ensign you will ensure that at least on this day they are remembered. Your act will mean so much to their families and to the retired, but most especially to those at sea.”
Councillor Bray said: “As an island nation we often forget how reliant we are on our Merchant seamen and women, to ensure that our country is fed, clothed and provided for.
“We should also never underestimate the frequent danger faced by our fearless merchant vessels and their crews as they perform this vital task on unpredictable seas.
“This short but significant flag raising gives us the opportunity to say thank you, as well as to remember those who have sadly lost their lives serving our needs.”
Merchant Navy seafarers are responsible for 95 per cent of all imports, including half the food eaten in the country.
The Red Ensign, or ‘Red Duster’ as it is affectionately known, has been the recognised flag of the British Merchant Navy since 1854.