It all comes by sea

Captain Kenneth Camp knows a thing or two about ship life and will be paying his respects to those who have paid the ultimate price.

If there were no seafarers the world would come to a ‘grinding halt’.

And next month, on Merchant Navy Day at Sulphur Point, people will pay tribute to the men who lost their lives at sea during both world wars and beyond.

Captain Kenneth Camp, who spent many years working at sea and says the day is a way of recognising the tremendous loss of seafarers in WW1 and WW2.

“Seafarers are not like soldiers, they don’t have a place where they fall and people can bury them. When a ship goes down, unfortunately, that’s where they go too.

“It’s always been a day when minds are cast back to WW2 especially, because most of us have got memories of that war.” 

He emphasises the importance of acknowledging the special breed of men and women that go to sea.

“For a long time, there was no recognition for what the Merchant Navy did. They all did such a vital job, and the losses were so high.

“It was a very hard life and it still is, even on the modern ships seafarers are at sea for nine months.”

Kenneth says people should also remember that the Merchant Navy is still very much a part of everyday life.

“People, whether they like it or not, are very much dependent on the Merchant Navy doing their job.

“If there were no seafarers, the world would come to a grinding halt. There would be no petrol to put in your cars because fuel comes from other countries.

“We are remembering merchant seaman, irrespective of colour, class or creed.”

Mayor Greg Brownless and local MPs including Simon Bridges have confirmed their attendance for the service.

In Britain, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries, September 3 is Merchant Navy Day.

The date commemorates the sinking of the first British merchant ship 'Athenia' in 1939, just hours after war was declared.

Merchant seafarers were involved in the Second World War from the first day to the last.

The service is open to the public and will be at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club at Sulphur Point on Sunday, September 1 at 2pm.