Chichester based maritime charity – the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society – is joining forces with former Royal Navy Commander Martin Ewence OBE to raise awareness of piracy as part of the city’s annual festival.
Martin, former Chief of Staff for the NATO counter-piracy force, will bring experience from the front line, as he discusses a dangerous period of Somali piracy during an illustrated lecture on Wednesday June 21 at 6.30pm, in the Pallant Suite, South Street, Chichester.
Martin served in the Royal Navy for 30 years prior to his role on the task force and has also supported the UK Government on the regulation and accreditation of private security providers at sea, as a member of the Maritime Security Working Group.
Piracy is a frequent occurrence in South Asia, the South China Sea, the Philippines and off West Africa and the talk comes at a time when Somali piracy has shown signs of resurgence, with the first case of a commercial hijacking in five years reported in March.
Anti-piracy patrols in the area have been scaled down in recent years, drawing concern that the rate of hijackings may increase as a result.
All profits from the event will go the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, a charity which has supported seafarers since 1839.
The Society provides financial and practical help to fishermen, mariners and their dependants suffering hardship, misfortune or poverty, as a result of shipwreck, accidents at sea, illness or during retirement.
Last year grants were provided in more than 2,000 cases of need at a cost of £1.4 million.
Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society chief executive commodore Malcolm Williams said: “As a maritime charity, the safety of seafarers is of concern to us and piracy is one of the risks faced by those who go to sea.
“Hosting a talk from someone of Martin’s experience will provide a fascinating insight into what remains a significant problem at sea today and should make for a memorable evening.”
Tickets for the event are £12, including refreshments, and are available by advance purchase only.
Tickets can be purchased from the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TL. For more information, please call 01243 789329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Festival of Chichester runs from June 17 to July 16 and consists of more than 200 events varying from music and theatre to talks, walks and galas. For more information, visit www.festivalofchichester.co.uk.