25 June 2019
To mark the ‘Day of the Seafarer 2019’ with the campaign ‘I am on Board-With Gender Equality’, Merchant Navy Officers Association (MNOA) along with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) (Chandigarh Chapter), Fleet Ship Management (Caravel Group) and the Chandigarh Yachting Association organised an event at the Lake Sports Complex, Sector 1, Chandigarh.
On this occasion, Maj. Gen. Rambir Singh Mann VSM, ADG NCC was the Chief Guest, and the Guest of Honour was Vice Admiral H. S. Malhi (Retd.) AVSM, VSM. Mrs Simran Mann, Chief Officer also spoke on the occasion and motivated young women to join Merchant Navy.
In keeping with the ‘World Maritime Day’s’ theme this year – ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’, ‘Day of the Seafarer’ was celebrated with a focus on improving women participation in Seafaring. The eminent panelists gathered on this occasion discussed the challenges & opportunities for women in Maritime activities, particularly Seafaring. Speakers emphasized that Women seafarers are considered by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as an underutilised and an underdeveloped resource and that if number of women in seafaring was increased, it could contribute to the solution of problem of crew shortage.
While addressing the gathering, Balbir Singh Mangat, President, MNOA urged the shipping companies to unlock the doors of opportunities for women in seafaring and demanded to create a healthy & safe work environment for them. He said, “Women should get equal respect as men in the merchant navy and now the time has come for women to lead in Seafaring.”
Ajit Singh, General Secretary, MNOA said, “There is a need of having proper maritime laws that should be framed to avoid sexual harassment cases against women. There is a need to change the mindset towards women and their capabilities too.”
Capt. Mohan Singh Judge, Chairman of CMMI (Chandigarh Chapter) said, “Of the 2% women involved in maritime activities, nearly 94% are on cruise ships and involved in passenger transportation. Women seafarers constitute a miniscule percentage of 39.3% of the global manpower of women. This number needs to be pushed up significantly”.
Capt. K. J. S. Sujlana of Fleet Ship Management (Caravel Group) highlighted that, “The fear of sexual harassment also discourages women to take up this career. Old-fashioned thoughts and approach towards employment of women as seafarers, social perceptions and fears are misplaced. Entering a male centric environment requires tremendous mental strength, grit and will, which I feel the women of today possess.”
The event witnessed participation of women involved in maritime assignments. The idea was to encourage young girls to take up Merchant Navy as a career, along-with other opportunities available off shore. Many other allied Maritime Career Avenues were also discussed at the event. The presence of about 30 women NCC Cadets of the Chandigarh Wing under Capt P Bist ,(Indian Navy) was greatly appreciated by one and all.
It is noteworthy that the Global Shipping Industry celebrates 25th June as the ‘Day of the Seafarer’. This year the day assumes much greater significance as it also marks 100 years of Indian Maritime Shipping’s sailing world-wide over the seven seas, since S.S. Loyalty set sail in 1919.