Synergy rolls out new PPE for its female seafarers

Written by Nick Blenkey
Synergy's new PPE for female seafarers

L to R: Captain Radhika Menon, Third Officer Noopur Mohire, and Chief Officer Reshma Murkar

Female seafarers working for Captain Rajesh Unni’s Synergy Group are to get more comfortable coveralls. The Singapore-headquartered ship management company is rolling out new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that has been designed to ensure the final cut maximized comfort and versatility for female crew deployed in a maritime work environment where the highest standards of protection are required.

Commissioned from Hercules Safety and developed by textile engineers in conjunction with female seafarers and maritime safety experts, the PPE features a 100% soft and durable cotton material, with seams reinforced in high stress areas to ensure both safety and comfort over extended periods of time. The PPE is also highly visible with 3M reflective strips designed to maximize visibility in all maritime working environments.

The new Hercules Safety PPE is currently being distributed to all female crew as port rotations allow. The roll-out takes in on over 60 Synergy-managed vessels worldwide on which female seafarers are currently deployed.

Captain Radhika Menon, winner of the 2016 IMO award for exceptional bravery at sea and a mentor to Synergy’s young female seafarers, said: “These new coveralls are a great fit and super-functional: breathable, weatherproof, lightweight and comfortable. The fabric is suitable and protective for the bridge and for the engine room where it gets hot. It’s also resilient, just like our seafarers; a quality we are happy to celebrate as International Women’s Day draws near. This new PPE enhances safety which is always Synergy’s priority.”

Positive message about equality

Chief Officer Reshma Murkar said the commissioning of the new PPE sent a positive message about equality to the maritime community.

“To be 100% work fit, we need the best fit, and that is what we have now,” she said. “These new PPE designs represent a clear commitment to supporting the role of women in shipping and illustrate why Synergy is making so much progress in its efforts to attract more women to our marvellous industry.”

Third Officer Noopur Mohire said that many seafarer products were designed with only men in mind, rendering them ill-fitting for women.

“Synergy prioritizes crew safety and this new PPE clearly offers that,” she added. “But it’s also very comfortable to wear and I’m glad female seafarers were consulted during the design process by Hercules Safety. I’ve got plenty of pockets to carry my tools, but not too many that they are a hazard. I can move around easily, and I’ve got protection when I’m on deck conducting duties.”

Synergy says that its progressive policies on diversity, inclusivity and equality have enabled women employed by Synergy, and the company itself, to grow and prosper. Synergy’s commitment to encouraging women to become seafarers now includes its own Chakra Scholarship which enables students of 14-15 years old to begin training to join the maritime industry.

“We’ve been expanding the number of women in the Synergy ranks at sea and ashore for many years as part of our diversity, equality and inclusivity programs,” said Captain HS Swaminathan, COO crew management at Synergy Group. ”We want them to feel at home and safe in their place of work. Making sure they have comfortable PPE designed to the highest safety and functional standards is, of course, a foundational, but critical, part of that process.”

female seafarers on deck
L-R: Third Officer Noopur Mohire , Captain Radhika Menon and Chief Officer Reshma Murkar
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