Former Falkland Islands marine officer and harbour master Chris Locke expresses complete surprise at being awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for services to ports and seafarer welfare.
Port Stanley-based Captain Locke was in the sixth week of retirement from his Falklands role at the time of the award in November 2020. During his tenure he played a key role in forming the Falkland Islands Maritime Authority, registered the British Antarctic Survey's new vessel – Sir David Attenborough – and also brought the Red Ensign Group Conference to the Falkland Islands, which he then co-chaired.
'It came as a total surprise when I learnt that I had been nominated as a recipient of the Merchant Navy Medal. It is both humbling and an honour to receive the award,' says Capt Locke.
'The sea and working in the marine environment has been my life. After coming ashore, it seemed a natural progression to work to make a difference to help those who worked at sea. I am very grateful to everybody who has supported me over the years but in particular to my wife Nancy.'
Capt Locke's seagoing career began as a deck cadet in 1977, spanned over 35 years and took him around the world. He was involved in several operational deployments including the 1982 Falklands War.
After gaining a Master of Arts degree in 2010 from the UK’s Defence Academy in Shrivenham, by 2012 Capt Locke was appointed as the first permanent Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM) for East Cove Military Port in the Falkland Islands. As QHM he was instrumental in introducing and subsequently implementing the Port Marine Safety Code for East Cove.
In 2015 Capt Locke took up the appointment as harbour master and marine officer for the Falkland Islands government, where he led a team responsible for the updating and modernisation of Falklands maritime legislation.
He was a founder member of the Falkland Islands Port Welfare Group and was instrumental in highlighting and improving seafarers working and living conditions aboard both foreign and Falkland-flagged vessels trading within Falkland waters.
As an avid photographer who enjoys new challenges, Capt Locke now intends to fulfil a lifelong ambition to own his own yacht and explore and photograph the islands by sea.