Maritime a dangerous work environment for sexual harassment: YoungShip

Top leadership at YoungShip, the non-profit organisation for young people working within the global maritime industry, have issued an open letter warning about shipping as a dangerous work environment for sexual harassment.

Penned by Emilie Christiansen, the president of YoungShip International, and the board of YoungShip Oslo, the letter comes in the wake of the growing #MeToo campaign, a social media movement that has risen on the back of a number high profile sexual harassment cases being unearthed in Hollywood. The letter comes shortly after the director of Nor-Shipping, Birgit Liodden’s stunningly frank article on the topic carried on this site two weeks ago.

Shipping was described in the open letter as an industry that is “overwhelmingly male dominated and at times hierarchic, but more so it is extremely personal, social and driven by the quality of client relationships”.

“We all daily operate within shifting power mechanisms with unwritten rules, and we rarely give it a second thought,” the YoungShip executives wrote, suggesting the sector was the “perfect climate” to operate in for those who have no qualms of abusing it.

The authors went on to advise: “Act the way your parents raised you. Treat people with respect, and be particular about being fair and professional towards people you have financial, career-wise or physical power over.”

The YoungShip letter concluded: “We urge all our members who see such behaviour in their working life to stand up for each other. We are the future of our industry, we will protect our working environments, and continue to set an example for the generations that come after us.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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