Hartlepool Borough Council will show its support to seafarers by flying the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day next week.
Councillor Allan Barclay, the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, will raise the Red Ensign in a special ceremony in front of the town’s Civic Centre on Monday at 10am.
Since the beginning of this century, the date of September 3 has been the UK’s officially-designated Merchant Navy Day.
In 2018, the Merchant Navy’s target is for the Red Ensign to be flown ashore at 800 locations across the country.
The organisation is even encouraging participants to fly the flag for the whole week with September 3 falling on a Monday this year.
The day was chosen because on that day in 1939, the first day of the Second World War, the SS Athenia was the first Merchant Navy ship to be torpedoed and sunk, with the loss of a total of 128 passengers and crew.
Councillor Barclay said: “During the two World Wars, without merchant ships and our brave seafarers – a large number of whom lost their lives – the UK would soon have been starved of food and other essential supplies.
“Our island nation still depends very heavily on the Merchant Navy – 95% of our imports are carried by ship, including half of the food we eat.
“Merchant Navy Day gives us the opportunity to honour the bravery and dedication of the men and women of the Merchant Navy, past and present, and it will be with great pride that I raise the Red Ensign.”
HRH The Earl of Wessex, President of the charity Seafarers UK, has endorsed the campaign, saying: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.”
For more information on Merchant Navy Day, visit www.merchantnavyday.uk.