Eleven leading maritime companies will use one pilot vessel each to test a variety of real-life measures to improve working conditions for seafarers.

The All Aboard Alliance, an initiative of the Global Maritime Forum, announced a groundbreaking initiative, Diversity@Sea, that will see 11 companies pilot a series of test measures to make life at sea more inclusive and attractive to all seafarers.

The 11 participating companies have committed to meeting a series of minimum requirements onboard one pilot vessel within their fleet. These include having a minimum of four women onboard (a high number in an industry with less than 2% women), providing appropriate conditions for menstrual needs, providing 24/7 wi-fi for crew members, and ensuring that all seaborne staff have access to inclusive personal protective equipment. The pilot vessels will set sail when these minimum requirements are met, with the first six scheduled to set sail no later than 1 November.

The participating companies are Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, bp, Cargill, Chevron Shipping, Diana Shipping, Dorian LPG, Gaslog, Hafnia, Stena, Synergy, and Swire Shipping. One of the participating vessels is Synergy’s Southern Reverence, which is scheduled to depart Singapore on 30 October helmed by Captain Radhika Menon, the first woman to become a captain in the Indian Merchant Navy.

“We have a lot of companies involved [in the Diversity@Sea initiative], so this will bring out a lot of change because it sends a very loud message saying the industry is ready to accommodate women,” said Captain Menon. “And it gives a sense of assurance to all the existing and aspiring seafarers that the system is changing.”

The pilot measures will explore different approaches to improving work-life balance for everyone at sea within maritime shipping.¹

“Today’s launch of the Diversity@Sea pilot is a true testament to the proactive stance taken by the All Aboard Alliance and several member companies in tackling these issues head-on. With 11 companies at the helm, we are laying the foundation for a maritime industry that is better equipped to meet the demands of tomorrow,” said Mikael Skov, Co-Chair of the All Aboard Alliance and CEO of Hafnia. 

The Diversity@Sea pilot is the result of an ambitious collaboration between All Aboard Alliance member companies that is exploring how to make life at sea more inclusive and attractive to both men and women at sea. In the first part of the Diversity@Sea project, 115 interviews with seafarers helped identify ’15 Key Pain Points for Women at Sea’, which was published earlier this year. Following this, leaders, seafarers, and experts from the involved companies worked together to co-design concrete measures to address these pain points.

“We embarked on this journey with a clear mission: to make life at sea more inclusive and appealing to seafarers of all backgrounds,” said Susanne Justesen, Programme Director, Global Maritime Forum. “Following the publication of the ’15 Key Pain Points for Women at Sea’ report, we transformed more than 40 ideas into concrete measures and solutions, which became the Diversity@Sea pilot. The pilot project seeks to test these chosen measures and proposed solutions aboard select vessels. We aim to gain practical insights into what constitutes an attractive and inclusive maritime career at sea and collectively take action to drive the necessary changes.”

To track the progress of the participating companies towards the stated goals of the pilot, the Global Maritime Forum will gather and assess data from crew members onboard the pilot vessels in partnership with independent maritime data analytics firm PsiFyi. Comparative analysis with non-participating vessels will offer insights into the effectiveness of these measures.

“Our launch today signifies the commitment and determination of maritime heavyweights to drive transformative change and ultimately establish a future in which respect, dignity, and inclusivity are cornerstones throughout the entire supply chain,” said Justesen.  

¹Maritime shipping involves vessels of different sizes and purposes cri&cal for global trade. The All Aboard Alliance’s Diversity@Sea pilot project features eleven vessels, such as crude oil tankers, LNG (liquid natural gas) tankers, product tankers (carrying refined oil products, e.g., gasoline), and bulk carriers (with cargos such as grain, soya beans or iron ore). Crew sizes typically range from a handful to two dozen, and contract lengths go from about three months to a year at sea.

Source: Global Maritime Forum