Celebrating International Women’s Day, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) debuted something remarkable over the weekend, a product tanker with an all female set of officers.
Mansukh Mandaviya, minister of state for ports, shipping and waterways was on hand on Saturday to virtually flag off the 73,655 dwt Swarna Krishna from Mumbai.
SCI has been a pioneer in employing women seafarers onboard its vessels and has implemented various initiatives to aspiring female cadets at its maritime training institute.
H K Joshi (pictured, centre), chairwoman of the state-run line, boarded the ship, prior to its departure, and discussed the growing “empowered womanhood” in local seafaring circles.
Last November the International Chamber of Shipping issued a 50-page report with some urgent recommendations for the industry to address its extraordinary diversity issues.
According to the International Transport Workers Federation’s recent collective bargaining agreements, the global supply of seafarers available for service on internationally trading ships is estimated at 1,647,500. Women seafarers comprised 1%. Once cruise shipping is included into this figure, the number of women working at sea stands at 7.5%.
Recommendations contained in the the ICS Diversity Tracker report include introducing flexible working patterns; ensuring suitable onboard accommodation for women seafarers; and publishing diversity and inclusion targets.
State-run SCI is due to be privatised later this year. One of the bids lodged comes from Exmar, GMS and Foresight. Foresight executives discussed with local newspaper Business Standard their plans to make SCI into an energy-focused shipowner, with big investments in LNG carriers.
“We want to transition SCI from a conventional shipping company to specifically energy tonnage. India energy demand is expected to grow double digit,” a Foresight executive said.