Friday, November 25, 2005

Eurocrats ban our Red Ensign

Shameful insult to our brave merchant sailors
Daily Express
Friday 25 November, 2005
By David Pilditch and John Ingham

They insist British ships fly the EU flag instead

Brussels bureaucrats are tryins to force Britain's merchant fleet to fly the European flag instead of the historic Red Ensign.

The proposal was condemned last night by politicians and war veterans.

EU officials want ships from member states to fly the blue European flag with its ring of yellow stars, claiming it will improve the image of the fleet.

But veterans insist there is no greater emblem of excellence than the Red Ensign, which has been the official flag of the Merchant Navy since 1864. Before then, the flag, affectionately nicknamed the Red Duster, was flown by Royal Navy warships as far back as 1627.

The timing of the proposal - after Britain proudly celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar - was seen as a calculated insult.

Former Royal Navy commander Eddie Grenfell, who survived the sinking of a merchant ship in the Arctic in May 1942, said: "The Red Ensign should never be changed. In every war the Merchant Navy play a prominent part. They are tremendous, loyal people who never give up. they have lost thousands of men all around the world and the Red Ensign is a flag they are proud of."

Merchant Navy Association chairman Captain John Sail said: "It is terrible that they should try to alter such a symbol of British success.
"The EU has nothing to do with our history of extreme bravery during conflict."

Today the Red Ensign is flown by nearly 600 ships registered in the UK. During the war the Merchant Navy had a higher ratio of casualities than any of the Armed Services.

Nearly 32,000 men and women helping to transport vital supplies of ammunition, food and fuel were killed. And nine merchant seamen died in the Falklands War when the Atlantic Conveyor was sunk.

Merchant Navy Association national secretary Tim Brant said: "If it hadn't been for the merchant service in the Second World War we wouldn't have the freedom we enjoy today. Every one of the merchant seamen who lost their lives signed up tp serve under the Red Ensign." The plan to scrap it comes two years after Eurocrats were forced to abandon a separate attempt to tamper with the flag.

The idea then was to replace the Union Flag in the corner of the ensign with a European Union emblem. Now the European Commission is accused of trying to resurrect the idea through the back door.

It says the move would help recognition at sea of vessels meeting the strictest European safety standards. The plan has been put forward for EU transport ministers to consider. But Shadow Transport Minister Julian Brazier said: "This is a silly proposal. The Commission should drop it." And British MEPs vowed to fight the proposal.

Tory Geoffrey Van Orden said: "We want our ships to fly our national flag. The idea of flying an EU flag is offensive and defies common sense and centuries of tradition."

Numast, the Merchant Navy officers' union, insisted any attempt at establishing a European fleet would be resisted. Spokesman Andrew Linnington said: "There are very powerful reasons for retaining a national merchant fleet. During the Falklands War we had more than 50 merchant ships that supported the Royal Navy. I can't imagine a European fleet would have sailed there."

The Department for Transport said: "We are not going to get rid of the Red Ensign. We see neither need nor advantage in a European flag."

"It is so terrible to alter a symbol of British success"


Anonymous said...

This follows on from a previous attempt to 'deface' the Red Ensign ('deface' being the technical term, as well as in this case truly being a defiling of the flag) by having the cursed blue square with its stars of tyranny applied to part of the red area of the flag.

This was howled down, & rightly so.

As a serving British MN Officer (there aren't many of us left) I don't wish to see the demise of our National Merchant Navy Emblem, especially by that hateful EU rag.

In fairness, successive Governments have tried to kill off our Merchant fleet; this one, despite the bluster of 'Two Jags' Prescott, is no different. Yes, there are more ships flying the Red Ensign, but there are very few British or even Commonwealth Officers on them. Indeed often there are few or no EU nationals on them either. Some Red Ensign ships are now 'Flag of Convenience', per the ITF.

Mark Coultas

Anoneumouse said...



Article 91 Nationality of ships

1. Every State shall fix the conditions for the grant of its nationality to ships, for the registration of ships in its territory, and for the right to fly its flag. Ships have the nationality of the State whose flag they are entitled to fly. There must exist a genuine link between the State and the ship.

2. Every State shall issue to ships to which it has granted the right to fly its flag documents to that effect.


Anonymous said...

Great research, anoneumouse.

That should finish this latest poece of EU nonsense off...

But it probably won't. :-((

The Remittance Man said...

There are four members of the Clan Remittance whose names are commemorated either on the Merchant Navy Memorial on Tower Hill or in the Commonwealth Section of the Stellawood Cemetary, Durban. All were engineers aboard merchant vessels. All died in the service of their country during time of war. Two, a father and son, died aboard the same ship in 1917.

To abolish the flag under which they served and died is an insult to their memories and those of the thousands of others who also perished.

This must be fought.

The Remittance Man

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