A plea to ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’ – despite the COVID-19 pandemic
Seafarers UK is calling on flagpole owners throughout the UK to support the charity’s annual ‘Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’ campaign.
With no public flag-hoisting ceremonies being encouraged this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seafarers UK is asking local authorities, councils, businesses and organisations with flagpoles at their headquarters or other premises to fly a Red Ensign on 3 September.
Last year a Red Ensign was flown at more than one thousand locations, including No. 10 Downing Street, generating a huge volume of social media activity. In Scotland, Merchant Navy Day is deemed to be a national flag-flying day. And across the UK, there are no restrictions on when or where a Red Ensign may be flown ashore.
Despite the wide-ranging impacts of the coronavirus, merchant seafarers have been working hard to keep the UK supplied with food, fuel, medicines and other essential goods. But despite being recognised by some governments as ‘keyworkers’, most seafarers are still being prevented from disembarking in many ports on global trade routes.
Tens of thousands have been compelled to keep working after their contracts end, as replacement crews are unable to leave their home countries to resume working at sea. The impacts on ‘stranded’ seafarers are inevitable; ill health, anxiety, poverty, etc.
The symbolic act of flying the British Merchant Navy’s official flag ashore provides a timely opportunity to raise public awareness of our maritime nation’s ongoing dependence on merchant seafarers.
A free guide to supporting Seafarers UK’s campaign is available to download.
All participants who register online will be added to the charity’s ‘Roll of Honour’ and sent a ‘Commemorative Certificate’ for public display.