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International experts to discuss ocean crisis at Hay Festival

Hay Festival

Former Shadow Defence Minister Julian Lewis and veteran marine broadcaster and journalist Tom MacSweeney are to speak at this year’s major Hay Festival maritime debate.

The “Island Nations” event will be held at the Hay Festival in the Barclays Wealth Pavilion on Thursday June 2 at 18.45 (Event 272).

The event is hosted by the Maritime Foundation and will be introduced by Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, until recently head of the RN’s surface ships. The Admiral said, “In this challenging and troubled world, the importance of the sea to this maritime nation of ours will increase significantly. Sadly, ‘sea blindness’ in our country continues to increase; thus maritime debates such as this one are crucial to reverse this regrettable trend and help make more people aware of the relevance of the sea to our way of life.”

Christopher Lee, the well known historian and writer, Cambridge Contemporary History Fellow and author of the acclaimed BBC series “This Sceptred Isle”, will lead the discussion. He said: “The SDSR debate has shown exactly how delicately balanced British seapower is to defend the country and safeguard its overseas commercial interests. The need to protect the ocean environment brings into focus all aspects of marine life as well as security of the sea lanes which is essential to world trade.”

Other members of the panel, who will be discussing the urgent need to protect the ocean environment, are international oil subsea engineering specialist Dr Bil Loth and renowned oceanographer and author Dr John Gould.

Julian Lewis, Conservative MP for New Forest East, served as Shadow Defence Minister for the Royal Navy, covering the nuclear deterrent and strategic issues for over eight years while Tom MacSweeney, as RTE’s (Irish Broadcasting Service) Marine Correspondent, presented the national weekly maritime programme, SEASCAPES for over a decade and is now a regular columnist for The Marine Times.

The Island Nations event is being hosted by The Maritime Foundation, a charity set up in the early 1980s to promote Britain’s maritime interests through training education and research projects. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence. Further details can be found at Alternatively, contact Anthony Harvey or Hannah Lort-Phillips

Tickets for the event are available on-line or through the Box office 01497 820629 with credit/debit card.