A warm welcome to our twenty-second Maritime Media Awards. Once again, the number of nominations has increased. Is this a sign of a renewed interest in maritime affairs?
There can be no doubt that maritime media coverage is gaining in popularity. Historical works reflecting the glories of the past still attract wide audiences, but there is a new discernible interest in the sea exemplified by offerings such as Sir David Attenborough’s amazing television series Blue Planet. Many more people are now aware of the sea as a vibrant ecosystem which needs our protection.
This awareness would not resonate throughout the world without media involvement. Today the Maritime Foundation gives recognition to those energetic contributors who have so successfully brought a more vivid maritime dimension into our daily lives.
The maritime scene also of course embraces shipping, trade, defence, security, industry, offshore exploration, fishing, leisure and education.
To provide a wider perspective, we are today launching a new annual publication, Maritime 2017, which will be distributed free to all guests. The cover theme this year is ‘Can the ocean recover?’ but the publication also aims to address a wide range of subjects in more detail to create awareness and stimulate interest, particularly amongst young people.
The Maritime Foundation is indebted to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which has sponsored Maritime 2017 as well as providing help and advice and supporting the dinner this evening. It has been an enormous pleasure working with the Pew Trusts team, and we are extremely grateful for their generosity.
It is with sadness that we record the death of Countess Mountbatten of Burma earlier this year. She was our President for over thirty-five years and took an enormous interest in the work of the Maritime Foundation. Her firmly held belief was that we should never forget how the sea has shaped our history and helped forge our national identity. She was always there to give her support. We miss her presence and encouragement.
My special thanks to all of you for supporting this charitable dinner and awards ceremony. Please sit back, celebrate and enjoy the work of the talented individuals who are the stars of this festival of the sea.
Julian Parker OBE,
Chairman, The Maritime Foundation