Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Red Ensign flies for Merchant Navy Day

Red Ensign flies for Merchant Navy Day
30 August 2018

The Red Ensign flag will fly this Monday 3 September over the Town Hall in Kirkwall as Orkney Islands Council joins UK-wide events in recognition of the nation's merchant seafarers.

This year's celebrations will have particular resonance as 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War 1 in which the merchant fleet had such a significant role.

Merchant Navy Day is coordinated by the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association, and is aimed at raising awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers, through public events and the hoisting of the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.

Two wreaths will be laid at the kirk green War Memorial outside St Magnus Cathedral between 1045hrs and 1100hrs, by Lord Lieutenant Bill Spence and Council Convener Harvey Johnston.

Councillor Johnston said: “In our island community, our everyday lives and livelihoods are inextricably linked to the sea - we depend on it and everyone who works on it for many of our goods. This year marks the centenary of the end of the Great War and we particularly remember those merchant sea farers who worked in treacherous conditions and made the ultimate sacrifice, alongside Royal Navy personnel, to maintain our country and to whom we owe our freedom, in great measures."

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. 75% of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports, some of which are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10:00 on 3 September. For Orkney, of course, the above figures are close to a 100% dependency on the movement of goods by sea.