Precious Cargo

We're on an island.

Yet few people realise that almost 95% of imports and exports come and go by sea.

In this series, Dylan Winter talks to seafarers about sailing under the Red Ensign.

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012005072520061014

We're on an island.

Yet few people realise that almost 95% of imports and exports come and go by sea.

In this series, Dylan Winter talks to seafarers about sailing under the Red Ensign.The British Merchant Navy has lost a greater proportion of men and women in world wars, supplying civilians and forces, than any other service.

Are we too complacent about their contribution?

022005072620061021

At the tiny port of King's Lynn and the immense oil and chemical terminal at Seal Sands, Dylan finds the invisible men of tanker and coaster, and the volunteers who try to help them.

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Officers recall their youth on board: the ships cat and elephants, begonia gardens and horse races, initiation rites and molls.

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What kind of marriage survives shore leave and long absences? Dylan meets the families of seafarers.

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The sea remains a hazardous place.