On Friday, UK shipping minister John Hayes announced the first ever recipients of Britain's new national-level Merchant Navy Medal, an honor awarded for exemplary service and devotion to duty.
The first round of awardees includes mariners who assisted migrants in distress in the Mediterranean; others who helped students train and advance in the industry; and several who devoted themselves to charitable works benefiting seafarers.
"Merchant Navy seafarers and those serving in the fishing fleets provide a tremendous service to our island nation and it is only right that they are recognised for the vital role they play, often in difficult and dangerous conditions," said Hayes. "Coinciding with Merchant Navy Day, it provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of our brave seafarers of the past and to show our appreciation for British shipping today and in the future."
The inaugural recipients are:
- Captain RH Barker, for services to the Merchant Navy
- Mr LAJ Dalrymple, for services to the welfare of seafarers
- Captain S Harrison, for services to the shipping and ports industries
- Captain NJ Jeffery, for services to the promotion of Merchant Navy careers
- Mr GT Jones, for services to the Merchant Navy and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- Mr RJ Jones, for services to the welfare of seafarers
- Captain PJ McArthur, for services to the Merchant Navy
- Captain DS McCallum, for services to the Merchant Navy
- Captain N McIntyre, for services in the rescue of refugees
- Mr MF Morgan, for services to the Merchant Navy and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- Captain PD Peters, for services to the welfare of seafarers
- Captain P Rentell, for services to the Merchant Navy
- Captain R Towner, for services to seafarer certification and training
Further details of their meritorious actions were not immediately available.
“That the medal is now a national award is recognition of the commitment and dedication of seafarers, and the contribution of the shipping and maritime industries to our island nation," said the CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, Guy Platten.
The recipients will be honored with a ceremony later in the year.
The medal has existed for some time, but in 2015, outgoing shipping minister Robert Goodwill announced that it would be upgraded to a State Award with a place in the UK's formal Order of Wear.
The Department of Transport and the industry's Merchant Navy Medal Committee are now accepting nominations for the 2017 awards cycle. The process is open to those "who are serving or have served in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets of the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands for exemplary service and devotion to duty, rewarding those who have set an outstanding example to others."