23 June 2014 by Sam
Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, explains why Seafarers Awareness Week is important, and how we can all get involved:
“Are you reading this blog on a computer, smartphone or tablet? Chances are it was brought to this country in a metal box on the back of a ship, along with your TV, clothes and most of your other possessions. About 90% of the world’s trade is brought to us on ships. As an island nation we are heavily reliant on the ships and seafarers who bring vital foods, fuels and many other goods into the UK. Seafarers Awareness Week, 21-29 June 2014, is an annual campaign to raise awareness of Britain’s dependence on seafarers.
Liverpool men and women have been seafarers around the world for hundreds of years, and over 40 million tons of goods are still moved through Liverpool’s docks.
Our Life at Sea gallery in the Merseyside Maritime Museum looks at life on board ships for seafarers and passengers. This includes a display on the sinking of MV Derbyshire, highlighting the great risks that seafarers continue to face to ensure the transport of essential products around the world.
The museum is ‘flying the flag’ for Seafarers Awareness Week by flying the merchant navy red ensign from the pilotage building on the waterfront.
Also during Seafarers Awareness Week is ‘The Day of the Seafarer’ on Thursday 25 June. This year’s request for ‘Day of the Seafarer’ is to think of something you own and for which you want to thank a seafarer. Think of something you own and which came by sea. Whether it’s the car you drive, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the gadgets you use or the furniture you sit on, write it down and post it on social media, adding the hashtag #thankyouseafarer. If you can also post a photo or video, even better. By doing so, you will be adding your voice to the millions of others who, on this one day, take the time to stop and thank those who work so hard, in the face of great hardship, to make our lives better.
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