Councillors have marked Merchant Navy Day at East Ayrshire Council HQ in Kilmarnock.

Provost Jim Todd hoisted the Red Ensign as they aimed to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

As an island, the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of its imports. However, many people – particularly the younger generation – know little about ships and seafarers and fail to appreciate the vital contribution they make to our way of life.

Provost Todd welcomed guests to the flag raising ceremony and local veteran John Bannerman read out a message from the charity’s president. Councillor Jon Herd also spoke of his time in the Merchant Navy.

The council was supporting a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.

Provost Todd said: “We were pleased to support Merchant Navy Day which provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the real importance of our merchant shipping industry. Being an island nation, the vast majority of goods arriving or leaving from the UK do so by sea. We have always been a significant and successful maritime nation and it's important to recognise the work of our merchant fleet both now and in the future."

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