Thurrock Council has raised the Red Ensign Flag at a special event in honour of Merchant Navy Day today (Friday 3 September).
The flag was raised outside the Civic Offices, Grays, to recognise past and present seafarers and celebrate the contribution that they have made throughout history.
Attendees at the event, held under COVID-19 secure guidelines, included Cllr Deb Huelin, Cabinet member for communities, and Mayor of Thurrock Cllr Sue Shinnick.
Cllr Huelin said: "Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day has been marked on 3 September to enable communities to come together on this annual day of remembrance. This date is particularly significant as it remembers the sinking of the first British merchant ship in 1939, just hours after World War Two was declared.
"This day is also an opportunity to raise funds for the Seafarers' Charity, which supports those who work, or have worked, at sea, and their families."
Cllr Shinnick, who read a message from HRH the Earl of Wessex at the flag-raising, said: "We honour the brave men and women who supported Britain during World War One and Two, and acknowledge the contribution of our modern day merchant seafarers who continue to provide such a vital service. They are responsible for more than 90% of the UK's imports, including many goods that we take for granted.
"Thank you to the Merchant Navy for your courage and dedication."
The Red Ensign is the official flag of the commercial shipping fleet of the UK and its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
To donate to the Merchant Navy, go to Seafarers Charity.
Photo below: The Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Shinnick (centre) joins Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock (right) and Andy Wright, Chairman Standard Bearer from the Merchant Navy Association (left).