Maersk Hosts Equal At Sea 2023: Charting a Course Towards an Inclusive Future

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Business Wire India
A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk), a global integrator of logistics, held the second edition of Equal At Sea 2023 with the theme of ‘Charting a course towards an inclusive future’. The event aimed at taking stock of the progress made since the launch of the Equal At Sea initiative in 2022 and providing a platform for the industry to create opportunities for facilitating industry-wide transformation and empowering women to pursue rewarding careers at sea.
 
The event was attended by Shyam Jagannathan, Director General of Shipping, Govt. of India as Guest of Honour. He pledged unwavering commitment to empower and encourage greater participation of women in seafaring. Other stakeholders in attendance from across the maritime industry, included Chief Surveyor (Govt of India) – Mr. Ajithkumar Sukumaran, Ex-Director General of Shipping – Mr Deepak Shetty, MASSA Chairman Capt. – Girish Phadnis, FOSMA Chairman Capt. – Sankalp Shukla, heads of shipping companies, maritime union heads, women representatives from shipping association, women seafarers and other industry stalwarts who are making exceptional efforts for the cause.
 
Karan Kochhar, Head of Marine People, Asia, Maersk, set the stage with his opening address, saying, “Our continuous efforts and immense support from the industry has started realising the future of creating an equitable environment at sea for women to thrive in. Through our initiatives, we have been able to successfully inspire more women to choose seafaring as a career. We are on track to achieve our goal of having 50% women amongst fresh cadet intake in India after having gone from 7.6% of Indian women cadet intake in 2021 to a significantly increased 35% in 2022.” He added, “As a step to accelerate this transformation, we proudly announce the Maersk Women Rating Programme in collaboration with Training Shipping Rahaman. With this programme we aim to initiate a pilot group consisting of 20 women ratings.”
 
Ratings are crew members who support officers and engineers in the operation and maintenance of vessels. Currently, the presence of active women ratings in India is almost non-existent. This programme’s objective would be to enable women in the maritime industry to access advanced technical training and offer employment sponsorship upon their admission to partner institutes. Such opportunities can generate greater interest among women to enrol in the programme and retain women seafarers within the fleet.
 
Ajithkumar Sukumaran, the Chief Guest at the event, during his address spoke about the challenges that are being addressed with initiatives like Equal At Sea. He emphasised on the policies introduced, which facilitated a noticeable increase in women’s participation and success in seafaring in recent years. 
 
At this year’s event, Maersk addressed concerns around safety and well-being at sea. Experts like Sanjam Sahi Gupta – Director, Sitara Shipping and Founder at Maritime SheEO, Divya Nair – Clinical Psychologist with Maersk Fleet Management India and Amalie Grevsen, Marine Culture Lead, Maersk, emphasised the significance of safety, well-being, and preparedness in the maritime environment, with the goal of creating a safer and healthier ecosystem. Cadet Garima D, AMET University, Chennai, Capt. (Dr.) Ashutosh Apandkar, Principal, Training Ship Rahaman, India, and Capt Arvind Shankar, Cadet Culture and Capability Manager, Maersk, discussed the role of maritime institutes and access to mentorship in shaping seafarers for inclusive and successful careers at sea.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Niels Bruus, Head of Marine People & Culture, Maersk, said, “When we launched Equal At Sea last year, our ambition was to inspire a positive change in a sector dominated by a mindset that doesn’t support gender equality. We are happy to see that at the second iteration of this event, there are more and more stakeholders agreeing with our goal and willingly contributing towards it.” He added, “At Maersk, we have carefully designed initiatives to transform seafaring into a safe and aspiring career, encouraging young women to aim for their future at sea. Maersk’s global women seafarer count has grown from 2% in 2021 to 3.3% in 2023, and we are committed to facilitating a further increase in women seafarers worldwide. In our quest for equality, we are committed to playing an active role by sharing our learnings, training material, and other valuable content with individuals, organisations, and institutions who share our vision.”
 
In a session with HK Joshi – Former Chairperson, MD and Director (Finance) with Shipping Corporation of India Ltd., Dr. Harpreet Singh – Executive Director – Headquarters with Air India Ltd., Niels Bruus, and Shalini Nataraj – Employee Experience Officer with Maersk discussed the way forward for the shipping industry in making life on board more inclusive for women. The topics they discussed ranged from building awareness about the career path, setting in place the necessary infrastructure, creating opportunities, to ensuring that women are able to thrive in their careers.
 
Over the past few years, Maersk has implemented numerous initiatives to promote a more inclusive and fair seafaring workforce. These initiatives encompass various programmes and measures, such as the Women Cadet Programme and Women Crew Connects, as well as the launch of the Cultural Transformation journey and the On Our Respect Radar Campaign. Maersk has also introduced the seafarer hotline and simplified complaint procedure, facilitated the planning of women seafarers together, provided Leading as ONE Leadership training for senior officers, collaborated with AMET University to launch the Maersk Center of Excellence, and joined forces with the maritime administration to design and develop a Gender Sensitisation Programme for faculty and support staff in maritime training institutes.