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Our founder members, two wartime Merchant Navy veterans, wanted to raise public awareness of both the commitment and the sacrifice of merchant seafarers during war and conflict.

Those who served in the “Fourth Service” during both world wars felt MERCHANT SEAFARERS had been largely unacknowledged and certainly undervalued for far too many years, especially the Arctic Merchant Navy Veterans.

A new national lobby, on behalf of merchant seafarers, could challenge the Government, and others, towards greater awareness of our maritime heritage and the contribution of merchant seafarers and fishermen in achieving the freedoms this country still enjoys.

It could not have been achieved without them”!

The Merchant Navy Association (MNA) was “launched” in 1989 and established a unique opportunity for seafarers to get together to form a countrywide consensus on a range of issues and ideas. It was something that should have been initiated many years before that date but has now made significant progress towards appropriate recognition and acknowledgement of the needs of the seafaring community.

The MNA has set a “steady course”, sometimes through troubled waters, but is now a registered charity with a good measure of success but with much more to achieve. Our Constitution includes a range of objectives, supported by the Charity Commission, for welfare and advice to the seafaring community both ashore and afloat. We remain consistent with those early objectives and sensitive to the current needs of the seafaring community as we also continue to raise awareness of our maritime heritage and the opportunities for work in the maritime sector.

Today 95% of everything you see in the shops arrives by sea in ships and in all weathers, every day. The UK is still a major world centre of expertise in the maritime sector for ship-broking, insurance and legal services contributing £26.5 billion to the UK’s GDP. Port facilities are being expanded with new and deeper berths for ever larger ships.

I hope you will take something from what you see here today and support all our seafarers, our campaigns and our fundraising activities.


The Association has, with much sadness, decided that there will no national service to celebrate Merchant Navy Day at the Merchant Navy War Memorial, Tower Hill, London in 2021.   This has been a very difficult decision, but the committee responsible has taken into account the on-going uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. This means that we are unable to put plans into place without making a considerable commitment and potentially putting attendees at risk.  It is hoped that branches will be able to hold a less formal event in the their locality, dependent upon government advice at the time.



All MNA face-to-face national meetings and events are cancelled for the first half of 2021 after which the situation will be reviewed 

In light of the current situation, the Executive Committee will continue to meet on-line until we can be confident that it is safe to organise face-to-face meetings.  We have taken this decision in order to minimise the risk to any of our members.  The 2021 MNA National AGM is scheduled to take place on Saturday 30th October and we hope that this will take place and members will be advised as soon as the situation becomes clear.

Thank you for your understanding and stay safe and well.

David Parsons, National Secretary