Farewell to 2017
As 2017 approaches its end, can I take this opportunity to thank all Sea Breezes readers for their continuing support, and to all contributors for the wonderful articles and letters they have provided to fill the pages of each month’s magazine.
As usual for someone of my age, it seems like the year has flashed by; and the world of maritime shipping has been as eventful as ever. Being Editor of Sea Breezes has allowed me to pass comment on many of these issues and events and I have penned Messages from the Bridge on such wide ranging issues as the future of British seafaring jobs, safety and working conditions in the coastal sector, cyber attacks in the shipping industry and shipbuilding on the Clyde.
This time last year, I was pleased to report that 2016 was finishing on a positive note with the naming of the UK’s new Polar research vessel after the celebrated naturalist Sir David Attenborough, and with the construction of the new vessel taking place at one of the UK’s most distinguished shipyards – Cammell Laird on the Mersey. This year, however, the story that caught my eye as we entered the final period of the year was the rather depressing story that the UK Royal Navy was planning to sell off some of its warships as part of further cost cutting initiatives. Reports suggested that officials in Brazil and Chile were developing plans to buy some amphibious landing platform ships and Type-23 frigates and that the end result of such sales would be the loss of the UK’s ability to carry out major amphibious operations in the future.
If such reports are true, I find such intentions by the UK Royal Navy and its Government paymasters almost incredible following a year of global political and diplomatic tensions virtually unrivalled in recent times. As well as the long established tensions in the South China Sea, the sabre-rattling of the Presidents of the USA and North Korea, and the growing intentions of Russia and China to extend their influence makes the future of world peace and security as uncertain as I can remember since the end of the Cold War at the end of the 1980s. Add to that the need for Naval resource to assist with humanitarian endeavours following many of the natural disasters which have occurred in the later part of the year, and it seems a particularly strange time to contemplate any further reductions in the UK Royal Navy following the cutbacks of the last decade.
Let us hope that these reports of vessels being sold are unfounded and that there is an outbreak of common sense within the UK Government.
With this being the final Sea Breezes of 2017, can I send festive greetings to all our readers and your families and say that everyone at Sea Breezes looks forward to receiving your stories, news and views in 2018.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR