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Wallem drawn into sex discrimination row

A poorly-worded email has landed Wallem Ship Management into a very public sexist row covered by the world’s most read newspaper, the UK’s Daily Mail.

Sophia Walker, 24, a qualified British deck officer, has hit out at the Hong Kong shipmanager after she was refused a job interview because she “would be better off working on a cruise ship”.

Having served her cadetship on a variety of vessels at Fleetwood Nautical Campus she sought out Wallem for a deck hand job but was told she could not work for the famous shipmanager “because of her gender”. She was advised to apply instread for a career in the cruise sector.

Walker told the Daily Mail: “Not even getting the interview is blatant gender discrimination and clearly shows that even in the 21st century this kind of thing is still happening in male dominated industries.”

Wallem has responded to the allegations telling the Daily Mail it does not discriminate against women, employs more than 50 female staff and the whole furore was down to a poorly-worded email.

The company also stressed that it wants to ensure it has a suitable environment in place before female staff are employed onboard.

According to UK maritime HR firm Spinnaker Consulting women are 52 times less likely to join the maritime industry than men.

The outcome of a number of surveys by the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), International Transport Federation and the International Labour Organisation prior to the World Maritime University Female Global Leadership Conference in 2014 found that women make up just 1 to 2% of the world’s 1.25m seafarers. Moreover, 94% of women working at sea are working on passenger ships.

Splash has contacted Wallem for comment.


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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