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Raise the Red Ensign and lower 'sea blindness' for Merchant Navy Day 2022

27 July 2022

Nautilus members who want to help reduce 'sea blindness' among the public are encouraged to get involved by supporting the longstanding Fly the Red Ensign campaign, held annually on Merchant Navy Day.

For the seventh year running, The Seafarers' Charity is once again campaigning for the Red Ensign – the UK Merchant Navy's official flag – to be flown throughout the UK on 3 September.

Local authorities including parish, community, town, city, district and borough councils are encouraged to raise the flag on civic buildings and landmark flagpoles.

Each year sees the Red Ensign flown ashore at many locations all around the UK. Nautilus offices are no exception, and retired seafarers and their dependants living at the Nautilus Welfare Fund Mariners' Park Estate in Wallasey plan to take part with their annual flag raising ceremony and memorial service outside the Atlantic Memorial Stone near the Trinity House Hub a day earlier, on Friday 2 September.

Merchant Navy Day is the day the maritime community honours and remembers the sacrifices of the often forgotten and invisible, but very hard-working, Merchant Navy seafarers.

The Seafarers' Charity started its Fly the Red Ensign on Merchant Navy Day campaign in 2015 to address the sea blindness that 'appeared to afflict a huge proportion of the population, with widespread public ignorance about the UK's ongoing dependence on merchant seafarers who are responsible for more than 90% of the UK's imports'.

Getting involved

Everyone is welcome to get involved by flying a Red Ensign on Merchant Navy Day, whether organising a flag-hoisting ceremony at your workplace, in your community, or proudly displaying a Red Ensign at your window at home or a sticker in your car.

Any seafarers planning to organise a flag-hoisting ceremony could consider involving local dignitaries, as well as Merchant Navy veterans, or Sea Cadets. This does not have to be on Merchant Navy Day – some may prefer to schedule their event during the week or the weekend of 3-4 September. The Red Ensign may be freely flown ashore anywhere in the UK at any time of the year.

This year those taking part were also able to order the special Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day campaign foldable donation boxes and car window stickers, free of charge, but orders had to be placed before 10 July 2022. A special MNF celebratory badge will also be used across social media close to the day.

Donations are also encouraged to the Merchant Navy Fund, a collaborative initiative, with a grants programme, set up by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and The Seafarers' Charity, to exclusively support Merchant Navy seafarers. Since its launch in 2012, the Merchant Navy Fund has awarded more than £700,000 in grants to organisations helping UK Merchant Navy seafarers and their families get back on their feet in times of need.

  • members who are taking part and who would like to have their event featured in the next Telegraph are encouraged to let the Union know as soon as possible at telegraph@nautilusint.org. Please send best quality images and reports of your event as soon as possible after 3 September.

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