Nautilus International senior national secretary Allan Graveson was one of 2017's recipients of the prestigious UK Merchant Navy Medal, announced by the government .
Mr Graveson, a former seafarer who works in the Union's professional and technical department, receives the award for services to seafarer training, welfare and safety.
This came as a complete surprise, and I appreciate it must have taken a great deal of effort to ensure complete secrecy. Endorsement by one's peers makes this rather special – a sincere thank you. The work continues for those at sea. Allan Graveson
Now in its second year, the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service is awarded to those who are serving or have served in the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets of the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands. The state award is handed out for exemplary service and devotion to duty, rewarding those who have set an outstanding example to others.
Announcing the awards, shipping minister John Hayes said: 'Merchant Navy seafarers and those serving in the fishing fleets provide an invaluable service to our island nation, often in difficult and dangerous conditions.
'Just a week after we mark Merchant Navy Day and remember the sacrifices of the seafarers of the past, this award provides the opportunity to proudly show our appreciation for British shipping today and in the future.'
This year's winners – who will receive their awards at a ceremony later this year – are:
- Mr Andrew Armstrong, for services to seafarer training
- Mr Anthony Cash, for services to seafarer welfare and the Merchant Navy Association
- Captain Stephen Clinch, for services to the safety of ships and seafarers
- Captain Geoffrey Cowap, for services to the careers of young seafarers
- Mr Patrick Dolby, for services to international ship safety standards and seafarer welfare
- Mr Allan Graveson, for services to seafarer training, welfare and safety
- Captain Mark Holden, for services to the offshore maritime industry
- Captain John Hughes, for services to environmental protection at sea
- Mr Francis Kelly, for services to apprenticeships for ratings
- Captain Charles Kelso, for services to the shipping industry and sea cadets
- Lieutenant commander Mark Kemmis Betty, for services to the Merchant Navy and seafarer welfare
- Captain Andrew O'Brian, for services to maritime careers and charity
- Mr Francis O'Neil, for services to marine engineering
- Mr Ian Spreadborough, for services to seafarer training and careers
- Mr Stephen Todd, for services to seafarer employment, training and welfare
- Captain Jamie Wilson, for services to the rescue of refugees in peril