Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has today joined those marking Merchant Navy Day 2020. Merchant Navy Day, 3rd September, honours the men and women who support UK supply lines, responsible for more than 90% of the UK’s imports. This includes almost half the food we eat, much of the fuel we use, and virtually all the products and goods we tend to take for granted. In 2019 an estimated 22,440 UK seafarers were active at sea.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The merchant navy has a longstanding and proud connection to the Northern Isles. Merchant navy sailors and officers play a vital role in our economy which has been amplified during the current crisis. Supply lines are more important than ever with 95% of UK trade being carried by sea. The global economy and the financial recovery after the pandemic relies on maritime trade, for food, fuel, medicines and other essential goods.
“This year saw some 400,000 seafarers stranded by Covid-19 travel restrictions. Many seafarers have had to face extended hardship this year separated from their families. This is exactly why I recently highlighted the need for the UK to lead the way in international cooperation for seafarer welfare.”
“The Government must move ahead and sign up to the International Maritime Organisation’s plan to ensure crew changeovers can resume. Working conditions for merchant navy workers cannot be ignored in this crisis. We know there has been a temptation on the part of some maritime employers in the past to take any opportunity to undermine pay and conditions. Today in particular we need a strong stance from the government against this.”
You can view Alistair Carmichael’s Early Day Motion marking Merchant Navy Day 2020 here: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57378/merchant-navy-day-2020