We want your help to erect a Monument to the Merchant Navy on Plymouth Hoe
This crowdfunding project will help build the statue itself.
How much do we depend on merchant seafarers?
The answer is:
More than you probably realise.
Almost all of what we eat, wear or use has travelled by sea in one form or other, either as a finished item or as a bulk commodity to provide the materials to build or make something.
Our modern world needs extreme amounts of oil and gas products to function.
Think of timber, newsprint, iron ore, aluminium ore, coal, rubber, fruit, meat, grain, palm oil, cars, heavy plant machinery, clothing, shoes, wool, cotton, toys, phones, televisions, computers, electronic goods. The list is endless - all transported on merchant ships, manned by merchant seafarers.
The largest container ships can now carry over 21,400 teu (twenty foot equivalent) at a time. Laid end to end these containers would stretch out almost 80 miles, for example from Plymouth to Exeter - and back.
Did you know that virtually all internet traffic moves along cables laid on the seabeds under the deepest oceans? All laid and maintained by merchant seafarers operating in specialised ships.
Cable Ship "CS Sovereign", an example of the complex vessels needed in our "connected" world.
Did you know that the Royal Navy receives its fuel, water, stores and ammunition from merchant ships making up the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) fleet? They go where the naval warships go, and often sustitute for naval vessels in operations.
RFA "Tidespring", first of a new class of modern fleet support tankers.
Recently it was an RFA vessel that provided first response to Caribbean islands after disastrous hurricane damage. Similarly a lot of anti drug and anti piracy operations are carried out by RFA vessels.
Don't forget the fishermen who brave rough, often extreme, weather to bring fish and seafood to our tables.
And, in this year we are remembering the "miracle" of Dunkirk in 1940 which could not have happened without the fleet of little ships including ferries, tugs, fishing boats and lifeboats.
Nowadays going on a cruise is an increasingly popular holiday, almost 25 million passengers now take a cruise annually worldwide. Not just the ship's deck and engine room personnel but also the service and entertainment staff are legally merchant seafarers and also play an integral part in the safe and efficient operation of a cruise ship.
Passenger Liner " Queen Elizabeth 2" anchored in Plymouth Sound.
Ferries operate all around the coast of the UK, in all shapes and sizes, all reinforcing the fact that as an island nation we depend on ships and seafarers to travel and trade.
The Hovercraft was a British invention, now used worldwide. "Swift" was one of six SRN4 ferries, each able to carry over 250 passengers as well as lorries coaches and cars, every crossing .Almost eighty crossings of the Dover Straits would take place daily at peak times of the year with these craft.
"Pride of Kent"; modern ferries are now as large as passenger liners of the past.
Around the world, in some of the most hostile working conditions, seafares are working night and day seving the needs of the energy industries. Be it in oil exploration, servicing oil and gas rigs, building offshore wind farms or laying and maintaining gas and electricity underwater distribution networks.
"Seven Cruzeiro" is a UK registered specialised pipe laying vessel.
Others seafarers are involved in scientific research projects worldwide, in salvage operations, in civil construction projects. There is so much that depends on merchant seafarers and their crews.
Research Vessel "James Clark Ross" at work in the Antarctic.
During the First World War over 14,500 merchant seafarers were killed. In honour of the sacrifice made by merchant seafarers in the First World War, George V granted the title "Merchant Navy" to the service.
During the Second World War over 30,000 merchant seaman lost their lives out of approximately 185,00 who served. At about 1 in 6, this was a death rate higher proportionately than any of the armed services.
A typical cargo vessel of WW2, - ss Lombardy, built in 1919, coal powered and maximum speed 9 kts. She survived the war having spentthe whole period crossing and recrossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Less lucky was the cargo ship "Lulworth Hill". She was torpedoed by a submarine in the South Atlantic in 1943. Just 17 out of a total crew of 40 ended up adrift in a life-raft. Fifty days later just 2 survivors were picked up by a warship, seen in this photo. Both men, Colin Armitage and Kenneth Cooke, were awarded the George Medal. For the majority of seaman their pay would have stopped from the moment the ship sank.
Apart from these two wars, British ships and seafarers have been required to regularly trade to war zones - for example many were involved in the Vietnam War and in the Iran/Iraq conflict, some killed or injured. British seafarers have been indirectly involved in many of the world's conflicts, mostly unrecognised..
Even in peace British ships and seafarers can pay an ultimate price.
The sea is a dangerous environment to work in.
Even the largest ships can pitch, roll and yaw heavily in high seas and swells!
For many seafarers this would be just another day at work.
"Derbyshire", "Royston Grange", and "British Trent" are all examples of tragedies where British seafarers lost their lives whilst going about their daily business. And even today merchant seafarers are being attacked by modern day "pirates" around the world.
"London Bridge" became the "Derbyshire" which was lost at sea in a typhoon in 1980. Her wreck was not found until 1994. All 44 seafarers on board were lost. This is the largest British ship ever to have been lost at sea.
"Royston Grange", burnt out after a collision in 1982. All 73 seafarers and passengers on board died.
"British Trent", burnt out after a collision in 1993. 9 seafarers died.
Unfortunately there are many more examples.
We are going to build a monument to Merchant Seafarers on Plymouth Hoe.
"The objective of the project is to commission a monument to be sited on Plymouth Hoe alongside those of the armed services. It will be dedicated to all those who serve in, or who have served in, the British Merchant Navy or Fishing Fleet in times of peace and war ensuring the survival of our nation.”
The total project cost will be about £210,000 of which almost half has been already secured. This money is already being used to fund preliminary design and planning work.
Specifically this £31, 000 is being raised to cover the cost of the casting of the statue itself.
The monument will be erected on Plymouth Hoe in line with other monuments and between the Royal Naval War Memorial and Smeaton's Tower.
The monument itself will be sympathetic to the style of the RAF memorial already in place on the Hoe, which it will "balance", being on the other side of the large Armada monument.
The figure on the top of the plinth will be based on a small piece sculpted by Bill Favata who was a seamanship lecturer at Plymouth School of Maritime
Perhaps you, or a relative or friend, are or were a merchant seafarer?
Or perhaps you would like to help recognise the debt this nation owes to to our merchant seafarers?
Please contribute to this fund to help us erect this monument on Plymouth Hoe in time for the "Mayflower 400" celebrations taking place in Plymouth in 2020.
How else can you help?
Every pledge appreciated, whatever its size, but additionally there are other ways that you can help us to reach our target.
•Your recommendation - If you like this project, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about us. If you can tell just one or two people you know it will help us get our project out to many more people than we could ever reach just by ourselves.
•Sharing our message on social media - By sharing and recommending our project to your friends, followers & contacts you can help to boost the number of people our project reaches.
The Plymouth Merchant Navy Monument is a UK Rregistered Charity: number: 1167934
Much more information about the project and the Merchant Navy can be found at our website: