HRH The Princess Royal recognised seafarers for their hard work and perseverance during the pandemic on a recent visit to The Mission to Seafarers in her capacity as the charity's president.
As part of the visit to the Port of Southampton on 21 February, HRH boarded a ro-ro vessel, the MV Tortugas, where she met seafarers and heard personal stories from the crew about their experiences during the pandemic. Following the ship visit HRH unveiled a ceremonial plaque as a thank you to seafarers – serving as a permanent reminder of their dedication and resilience.
The event, jointly hosted by The Mission, Associated British Ports and DP World, highlighted the essential role of port communities during the years of the pandemic and beyond.
It was held in honour of all international seafarers at Southampton as one of the UK's busiest deep-water ports, which has an important role in supporting national and global supply chains and hosts high numbers of hardworking seafarers from around the world.
HRH also praised the unwavering commitment of the port teams and the essential work of seafarers who have 'sustained trade at a moment of global crisis' and 'shown tremendous heroism'.
The Mission to Seafarers secretary general, Reverend Canon Andrew Wright, said: 'We would like to extend our gratitude to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal for her unwavering support of our work here at the Mission. Her personal thanks to seafarers, following some of the toughest years ever experienced by the industry in recent times, underlines the importance she places on the role of seafarers around the world and the support network that is required.'
At Europe's leading cruise turnaround port, HRH also heard about the successful restart of the cruise industry and visited the new Horizon Cruise Terminal, dubbed the 'UK's greenest cruise terminal' – a £55m investment by ABP with support from the UK government’s Getting Building Fund, facilitated by the Solent LEP. Horizon will be home to the UK's first shore power facility for cruise ships when the facility is commissioned this spring, ensuring zero emissions at berth. At a reception in the Horizon Cruise Terminal, HRH also thanked the local Mission Committee for their efforts over many years in raising important funds.