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Empowering Women in the Maritime Community

At the most recent bunker training course run by Petrospot in Oxford, two thirds of the attendees were female.

ITF says women only 2% of the world maritime workforce

In many other business situations this wouldn’t be anything unusual; however the balance of gender on the Petrospot course was quite remarkable for the shipping industry because at most 4 per cent of the maritime industry’s sea-based workforce is female, and in the Merchant Navy, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) estimates that women make up only 2 per cent of the world’s maritime workforce.

The important question to ask though is, does this attendance reflect the gender change in our industry that we’ve been waiting for?

It’s certainly timely since Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General announced that the theme at September’s 2019 World Maritime Day will be “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”, and he will be talking at London International Shipping Week (LISW) also taking place in September.

Two industry leaders, Kimberly Westmoreland, Director for Global Fuel Procurement at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) and Lindsay Malen-Habib, Client Services Manager at Resolve Marine Group are exploring the theme of encouraging women in the maritime industry.

It is encouraging encouraging to see a greater presence of females in the bunker industry: Kimberly

“Today I think it is increasingly unusual to not see a woman sitting at the table with me, in one capacity or another” said Kimberly. “Now, more than ever, women are breaking down stereotypes and truly making waves in male-dominated sectors. It’s encouraging to see a greater presence of females in the bunker industry – with seven females on my team, I’d like to think we are contributing to that wave.”

 Lindsay acknowledges that maritime is a male-dominated industry but she always brings the focus back to the people, the team and the work they do which is what will attract a new generation of women to our industry.

We are all equals in the bigger task of trying to make accomplishments that impact the world: Lindsay

“Currently, we actually have more female directors than male directors at Resolve Marine, but the message I want to get out is that your gender or ethnicity doesn’t matter, whether you are a man or woman, or on what side of the industry you originate. We are all equals in the bigger task of trying to make accomplishments that impact the world.

“The most pleasure I get from my job is talking about the work we do and the people we employ. You can engage a salvage tug under contract, but if you don’t have the appropriate salvage masters, naval architects, technical engineers, marine firefighters, salvage divers, etc. in your employment who are loyal to your team, you have nothing. So, we are all about the people”.

This powerful determination and conviction are just what our industry needs to deliver a tangible outcome to the IMO’s World Maritime Day theme – empowering women in the maritime community.

The more people like Lindsay or Kimberly, the more chance of celebrating a permanent change to the gender balance

Training and environmental protection, which matter so much to young people, are central to the work of Resolve Marine Group and RCCL. The more people like Lindsay or Kimberly who explain their work in the maritime sector, and the vital role of ports and their auxiliary services to our way of life, the more chance we have of celebrating a permanent change to the gender balance of our sea-going workforce.

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), will be giving a keynote presentation on empowering women in the maritime community at the Flagship Conference at London International Shipping Week, on Thursday 12 September.

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