Merchant Navy Day: Remembering Those Lost at Sea

Branches around the country have had their hand in commemorating merchant navy sailors killed at sea this week.

Significant delegations of members past and present attended respective Merchant Navy Day ceremonies in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory on Wednesday.

National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said it was important to remember the history of the union.

“On days like Merchant Navy Day we appreciate the sacrifices our forebears have made to ensure the union and more generally the maritime industry is in the position it is today and around the world,” Crumlin said.


In the Northern Territory, Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor led the charge of 50 members mixed with navy servicemen, port stakeholders and port representatives.

“We need to remember the horrendous cost of war. We need to remember the efforts and sacrifice of our merchant seafarers,” Mayor said.

“In remembering and educating others about those sacrifices and the strategic importance our members had to the war efforts as merchant seafarers; we highlight the importance of Australian shipping and skilled seafarers for our island nation.

“The attack on the employment of Australian seafarers by the current Liberal government is exposed for its stupidity here today.”


In Brisbane an event was held at Greenbank RSL, there the Naval Ode was recited:

They have no grave but the cruel sea

No flowers lay at their head

A rusting hulk is their tombstone

Afast on the ocean bed

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
 Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them



Meanwhile in South Australia more than 70 people turned out to the Port Adelaide event that involved a marching band wreath laying ceremony. 

Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn said people often forget the huge numbers of merchant seafarer fatalities during times of war. 

"The people who are responsible for keeping the world's economy going are not often given more than a passing thought," Newlyn said. 

"This day serves as a reminder of how important a job seafaring is and has been, especially in war times.

"South Australia's economy was enhanced by the small merchant fleet servicing the coast of SA and the Federal Government needs to remember this and to promote and support the current shipping legislation.

“Not be advocating its demise on ideological grounds".

Other speakers included State MP for Port Adelaide Susan Close and Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Gary Johanson.

In Fremantle the event was attended by a number of MUA current and retired members as well as ITF inspector Keith McCorriston.


For more pictures from around the country please click here.