Today, June 25, is the international Day of the Seafarer. This year IMO is using it as opportunity to promote gender equality, with a social media campaign using the hashtage #IamOnBoard.
One company that is very much on board with this message is ship manager Wallem.
In a message to seafarers, Wallem CEO Frank Coles notes that the people who make the shipping industry work are almost invisible as they labou unseen beyond the horizon and out of mind.
“For this reason,” says Coles, “the Day of the Seafarer should be applauded for encouraging us to pause and reflect on the importance of deck officers, engineers and everyone else on whom the industry relies to ensure cargoes are delivered safely and on time.”
Turning to this year’s Day of the Seafarer theme, Coles notes that it is estimated only 2% of seafarers are female.
“Tackling this under-representation demands the breaking down of old-fashioned perceptions and intrinsic biases,” says Coles. “It is yet another area of our industry calling for radical change.”
Coles says that Wallem remains one of the biggest employers of female seafarers. They are spread evenly across the ranks, but are particularly well represented among second and third officers and engineers. Wallem is committed to promoting gender diversity and creating supportive and respectful environments onshore and onboard Wallem-managed ships to allow everyone to flourish.
“As crew shortages become more acute, it is ridiculous to disregard half the pool of possible candidates on the basis of gender,” says Coles. “Our experience is that women seafarers want to be treated no differently from their male colleagues and to be judged solely for the work they do.
“At Wallem, we cherish the technical expertise, the ingenuity, and, above all, the dedication of the skilled men and women who are pivotal in our success today and tomorrow. The Day of the Seafarer highlights their efforts once a year. In truth, we should acknowledge and give thanks to seafarers every day. At Wallem we do this.”