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VENISON’S dear isn’t it?  Supposedly the shortest joke in the world and for those of you in the frozen northern hemisphere, a seemingly apt one.  Time and tide waits for no man and, with the wind blowing and snow looming on the horizon, it seems incredible that it’s ‘that’ time of year again.  Admittedly it could be age, but where on earth did 2011 go? 

For those of us who spend our lives tucked up in comfortable offices and who get to sleep in our own beds at night, perhaps at this time of year we should give special thought to those to whom we owe our living, the 1.5m seafarers who ply our trade day in day out away from their families.  So far, 15 of them have been killed as a result of Somali piracy and as of 1st December 2011, 172 seafarers are being held hostage in Somalia. Their year is certainly passing far more slowly than ours. If you haven’t already added your voice to the campaign for government action to tackle piracy, you can do so now on

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