IMRF immediate past chairman, Michael Vlasto OBE, represented the IMRF at the Merchant Navy Day Commemorative Service and laid a wreath at the Merchant Navy Memorial last week in memory of the contribution and sacrifice of merchant seafarers in the First and Second World Wars. This years service made appropriate reference to the current migrant crisis and recognised those working towards saving them at sea.
The British Merchant Navy has played a significant role in British history. It suffered severe losses from German U-Boat attacks during World War I and II. Around 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed during the two wars. But, together with the protection of the Royal Navy, the convoys successfully imported sufficient supplies to help an Allied victory.
”With the work being done by the IMRF with the migrant crisis it was fitting for us to recognise the outstanding help the merchant fleet has provided both historically and in recent years to bring these people in distress back to safety,” says Vlasto. “In the time of need be it war, mass rescue or migrant rescue, often the merchant seafarers find themselves on the frontline risking their lives to save others.”