Maritime Media Awards 2009

Ross Kemp wins Award for In Search of Pirates TV series

HRH The Princess Royal presenting at the Maritime Media Awards 2009

The End of The Line writer receives Maritime Fellowship Award

HRH The Princess Royal presented prizes to some of the country’s most outstanding journalists, broadcasters and writers at last night’s annual Maritime Media Awards.

Among those honoured was celebrity TV presenter Ross Kemp, who won the Donald Gosling Award for his Sky 1 series In Search of Pirates.

And ecological campaigner Charles Clover received the first Maritime Fellowship Award for his book and film The End of the Line, which warns of the consequences of overfishing the world’s oceans.

Over 200 guests attended the event, held at the Institute of Directors in London, including First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and former Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Lord Boyce.

The winners of the five categories were as follows:

  • The Donald Gosling Award for best television, film or radio contribution: Ross Kemp In Search of Pirates. Presenter: Ross Kemp, Production company: Tiger Aspect Productions, Commissioning company: Sky TV
  • The Desmond Wettern Media Award for best journalistic contribution: Peter Elson, Shipping Correspondent, The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo
  • The Desmond Wettern Fleet Award for best media contribution from HM Ship, submarine, Royal Naval Air Squadron or Royal Marine Unit: HMS Illustrious
  • The Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution: the biography Alan Villiers – Voyager of the Winds by Kate Lance
  • The Maritime Fellowship Award for an outstanding life time contribution in a particular maritime field: Charles Clover, author of The End of The Line

The Donald Gosling Award: Ross Kemp In Search of Pirates

Prize: A pair of crystal dolphins mounted on an engraved marble plinth

The Awards Committee said: “An original programme which explained the true nature of modern piracy and why it matters. It was outstandingly presented, technically excellent with superb camera work.”

Ross Kemp is currently away filming but he recorded the following message to be played at the ceremony: “Sorry we couldn’t be with you tonight. Thank you so much for the award – it means a heck of a lot to myself and my crew. But I believe the real crew who should be receiving the award are the men and women of HMS Northumberland. They were fantastic hosts and they did a brilliant job while we were out in the Gulf of Aden.”

The Desmond Wettern Media Award: Peter Elson

Prize: An engraved ship’s decanter

The Awards Committee said: “A highly respected campaigning journalist who understands the significance of sea transport and naval operations to the United Kingdom and specifically to the Port of Liverpool. A regular contributor of well researched and eloquently written features which promote maritime awareness, and whose advice is sought on radio and television. A champion of maritime heritage and a reporter renowned for exclusive stories.”

Peter said: “I am thrilled to be only the second journalist outside London to receive the award. Everyone will be aware of Liverpool’s woes over the last 40 years. I feel my public role as a writer and broadcaster is to highlight the future potential of the city re-engaging with the sea, the very element that was its reason for being. The essence of Britain in fact.”

The Desmond Wettern Fleet Award: HMS Illustrious

Prize: A cut glass ship’s decanter mounted on a plinth of oak from HMS Victory bearing a silver plate inscribed ‘Heart of Oak’

The ship’s former Commander Weapons Engineering and Public Relations Officer Captain Jim Macleod said: “It was a cumulative effect. We had a forward-leaning approach to getting as much media on board as possible, getting coverage nationally, locally and on the internet. I think the only way to get people to understand what we do is to make it possible for them to hear about us.”

The Mountbatten Maritime Award: Kate Lance

Prize: Engraved silver Armada plate

The Awards Committee said: For her truly illuminating biography of Alan Villiers, a complex and sometime difficult man who had an immense influence on the popular understanding of voyaging under sail. Voyager of the Winds is outstandingly researched and beautifully written as it unfurls the true character of this extraordinary seafarer.

Kate said: “I’d like to express my gratitude to the Maritime Foundation for the award for my book, the publishing staff of the National Maritime Museum for helping produce it, the Villiers family members who provided background material, the museums and archives that make historic research possible, and the maritime enthusiasts who offered their own perspectives on the significance of Alan Villiers’ life.”

The Maritime Fellowship Award: Charles Clover

Prize: Hand-blown English crystal bowl with detachable handmade hallmarked sterling silver base

The Awards Committee said: For his courageous campaign through book and documentary film entitled The End of the Line to warn about the consequences of over fishing in the world’s oceans and his tireless efforts to promote fisheries as a sustainable resource.

Charles said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive the Maritime Fellowship Award as it is a great endorsement of the years I spent writing the book, The End of the Line, and the two and a half years I have since spent helping others turn it into a film. Both the book and the film are now shockingly topical, more than we could ever have imagined.”

[divider top_link=”false” autosize=”true”]

Editors’ Notes

  • Further details can be found on
  • The Maritime Media Awards were first held in 1995 a single journalism prize presented in memory of Desmond Wettern, one of the most well-known and respected naval correspondents of the last century. Since then the annual event has steadily grown to become the largest and most prestigious within the maritime sector.
  • Desmond Wettern wrote on maritime matters for over 30 years but is probably best known for his role as The Daily Telegraph’s naval correspondent. He was so respected within the service he wrote about that the Royal Navy sent a signal to every ship and naval establishment to inform them of his death in 1991.
  • The Maritime Foundation was set up in the early 1980s to promote Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence.
  • For further information, please call Ali Kefford on 07775 737062.

[divider top_link=”false” autosize=”true”]


A selection of photos from the Maritime Media Awards 2009. More photos are available from the Maritime Foundation’s Flickr Photostream.

[slickr-flickr tag=”mma2009″]