This Merchant Navy Day the Royal Naval Association honours our Merchant Navy shipmates

This Merchant Navy Day (Sunday 3 September) we honour and remember our Merchant Navy Shipmates. Merchant Navy Veterans who are holders of the Merchant Navy Association Veterans Badge are eligible and very welcome to join the Royal Naval Association.

Some of our Shipmates have served in both the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy; Stuart Ramsden from our Eastbourne Branch tells us his story:

“Having been born in Eastbourne and spent all of my younger years by the sea, at the outset, all I ever wanted to do was to go to Sea to work.”

Stuart spent 22 years in the Royal Navy, his last ship was HMS Westminster (Type 23 Frigate) which he joined as the first Charge Chief MEA (CCMEA), just after it had completed post Build Sea Trials in July 1994.

He left the RN in 1997 and by a happy accident he joined an Oil Major as an engineer on their managed Ships.

“I worked on all sorts of Tankers, Very Large Crude Carriers VLCC’s, Product tankers (carrying refined fuels) and finally on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Tankers.

“I travelled all over the world to many different Ports, such as Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Durban and Ports in New Zealand, Australia and the Gulf States.  In the year 2000 my wife decided to try a trip at sea with me as you can in the MN, and continued to accompany me for the next 15 years or so.  I worked with seafarers from many different countries and cultures, which is always enriching, and consequently have many good friends across the world.

Stuart tells us why it is so important to recognise the Merchant Navy:

“I think most people who know their history are well aware of the sacrifice that Merchant Seaman made during the convoys of the Second World war.

“I don’t think many know that there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of Merchant Mariners at sea on any one day.  People do not realise that virtually everything that they eat or buy, dry goods, cars, fuel etc are transported by sea and Merchant seafarers go unrecognised until things go wrong. 

“It still remains a hard and hazardous job, as in the RN, it involves months at a time away from families, this was exacerbated during the pandemic when, many personnel who were at sea at the time suddenly found they could not get relieved with flights shut down and many ports not allowing personnel in or out. Personnel were spending upwards of 6 to 9 months on the vessel when it should be 3 or 4.  It was an extremely difficult time for not only the seafarers but also companies as we tried everything possible to get personnel relieved.”

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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