On the first International Day for Women in Maritime observed on May 18, A.P. Moller – Maersk’s (Maersk) announced India’s first seafarers’ cadet programme dedicated to women. Last year, the International Maritime Organisation Council decided to establish the event to be observed on May 18 every year.

Out of the 17 lakh seafarers globally, women represent only 1.2 per cent as per the BIMCO/ICS 2021 Seafarer Workforce Report. This represents a positive trend in gender balance, with the report estimating 24,059 women serving as seafarers, a 45.8 per cent increase compared with the 2015 report. 

In India, Maersk said that women make 0.5 per cent of the total Indian seafarers. The gender imbalance can be improved if the industry makes efforts providing proper career counselling to young women and their parents, facilitate the right academics, create job opportunities, a safe and healthy work environment at sea, and ensuring women a fair employment in the long-term, says a release from Maersk, which employs around 95,000 people.

AMET programme

Designed in association with the Chennai-based Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET), the new programme will promote seafaring careers amongst young women.

Young women who wish a career in seafaring can enrol for the programme facilitated by AMET, Chennai, after completing their 10+2 and choose between the three-year Bachelors in Nautical Science or the four-year Bachelors in Engineering.

By promoting women to take up these courses and ensuring that they get access to the right academics in the right environment, Maersk is committing itself to improve diversity, equality and Inclusion in the long run, says a release from the line.

Women are reshaping the corporate world, taking on responsibilities in almost every sector, function and role. However, the seafaring community, which has otherwise been male-dominated, has not progressed at the same pace as the mainstream corporates. To bring about the change, it is necessary to start at the grass root level, the release said.

Karan Kochhar, Head of Marine HR - Asia, Maersk, in the release said, by 2027, Maersk aims to increase the proportion of women among the fresh cadets inducted to 50 per cent from a baseline of 7.6 per cent in 2021. To achieve this, Maersk is creating a talent pool of women seafarers through this programme.