Red Ensign tribute to merchant seafarers

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar raises the Red Ensign at Larne Harbour. The ceremony was attended by local politicians and special guests including Joan Christie CVO OBE,  the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar raises the Red Ensign at Larne Harbour. The ceremony was attended by local politicians and special guests including Joan Christie CVO OBE, the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim.

Merchant Navy Day has been marked with the raising of the Red Ensign at locations across Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The initiative raises awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

The Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, Joan Christie CVO OBE, Larne Port Harbour Master Anthony Van Damme and the Mayor, Councillor Lindsay Millar were joined by guests and members of the public in a short ceremony at Larne Port on Monday.

The flag was also flown at the council’s main offices in Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus to support a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagpoles.

Cllr Millar said: “As a borough steeped in maritime history and home to one of Northern Ireland’s biggest ports, we have always depended on merchant seafarers to protect our shores and import vital supplies.

“We’re pleased to be supporting the ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’ in honour of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout our history.”

In the First and Second World Wars nearly 15,000 merchant seafarers were killed.

Larne Harbour Master Anthony Van Damme said: “The annual event gives us an opportunity to highlight and commemorate the service of brave seafarers of the past, present and future. “Larne Harbour offers a warm welcome to all Seafarers and supports their welfare whilst they carry out their work that is so vital to our economy.”

Merchant Navy Day is commemorated on 3 September, the anniversary of the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel lost during World War 2. For more information see: www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day