Last week, the Princess Royal presented the Isle of Wight’s Red Funnel Boss with a Merchant Navy Medal.
Captain Fran Collins was awarded the medal for her services to the marine passenger sector. She is the first female captain at the Channel Islands operator, Condor Ferries. Collins started her career as a dual cadet having sailed on deep-sea oil and gas tankers before she joined Condor. From there, she was promoted to the executive director of operations having just taken the role at Red Funnel in June of 2018.
This year’s medals were awarded to 20 mariners. Those mariners spread across a range of categories. Some are recognised for their service and devotion to duty while others were awarded based on their contribution to the maritime industry.
The recipients of this year’s awards were announced on Merchant Navy Day on 3 September. Merchant Navy Day is a day that celebrates the vital role of Merchant Navy seafarers and their contributions as they continue their wartime service.
Speaking after the ceremony, Captain Collins said:
“Receiving the Merchant Navy Medal is an incredible honour and one of the proudest moments of my career. I have been inspired by the achievements of previous recipients, so to now be part of this group is somewhat surreal and a huge privilege.”
Collins went on to add, “I am very proud of the UK’s maritime industry and am deeply committed to encouraging our young people, especially women, to consider it as a career.
“Those of us in shipping have a responsibility to improve perceptions of it as it is a rewarding, dynamic and exciting career choice, especially given the range of options across many aspects of shipping and its supporting industries, and I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities and support offered to me throughout my career in the Merchant Navy.”