A local maritime expert is to talk about the role of Merchant Navy ships in transporting goods all over the world from the River Tyne,
The talk, by master mariner and retired RNLI coxswain Martin Kenny, is the first in a series linked to a new exhibition, starting in early October, The Merchant Navy – Tyneside Stories.
He will describe the range of merchant shipping in transporting goods bur will focus on ships using the Tyne, the jobs they do, their diverse cargoes and the hazards associated with carrying and handling them. He will also include the vital role of staff in ports who support the Merchant Navy.
Martin, who spent 13 years at sea before becoming a lecturer at the South Shields Marine and Technical College for almost 30 years and then providing consultancy services to a major shipping company, said: “The Merchant Navy plays an important role in transporting goods all over the world and the River Tyne has been part of this for very many years.
“While people who live near the river will see the comings and goings of different vessels, few will understand the extent of the operation involved and the diversity of products carried. The Port of Tyne is the country’s second largest car export hub handling around 600,000 cars a year, it handles 40 per cent of all loose tea imports to the UK and is one of Europe’s biggest handlers of wood pellet.”
He continued: “There are complexities that need to be managed when carrying different types of cargo to ensure safety and that goods arrive intact. There are also many people working onshore, in ports who provide vital support to these vessels.”
In more recent years the Tyne has also seen increasing cruise traffic with ships leaving the Tyne bound for a variety of destinations, as well as the daily ferry service to Amsterdam.”
Martin, who is an active volunteer at the Old Low Light, was a coxswain at the Tynemouth lifeboat station for 16 years.