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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

3 September 2016

Saluting the service of our merchant mariners

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Merchant Navy Day today was an opportunity for the nation to honour the service and sacrifice of our merchant mariners.

Mr Tehan said Australians should remember the vital contributions made by those who served in the Australian and allied Merchant Navies in times of war.

“Merchant ships played a crucial role transporting men to and from warzones and carrying valuable cargo during the First and Second World Wars,” Mr Tehan said.

“Some vessels were converted to military hospital ships. The work was highly dangerous as the slow convoys were at constant risk from enemy fire, sea mines and other threats.

“Memorials around Australia record the more than 600 Australian merchant mariners known to have lost their lives in war, however there are likely more unknown because some Australians served in the merchant navies of allied nations.

“The Centenary of Anzac 2014–18 marks not only 100 years since the First World War, but 100 years of bravery and sacrifice by our servicemen and women, including the merchant mariners we honour today.”

For more on the Anzac Centenary program, please visit the Anzac Centenary website.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.