All-female merchant fleet sets sail

An all-female merchant officer fleet set out for the high seas Saturday aboard Mt Swarna Godavari en route to the International Day of Women in Seafarers 2022, which will be observed on May 18.

Organized by the Navratna National Shipping Company, the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI), the flag-raising ceremony was celebrated by Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Culture. While the Director General of the Directorate General for Shipping, IRS, Amitabh Kumar, was the guest of honour, other dignitaries attended from the Japanese Consulate.

The mt Swarna Godavari, which sets sail from the city’s Jawahar Dweep oil terminal, is the second ship to have an all-female fleet. The women’s empowerment trend was started by the SCI last year when Mt. Swarna Krishna left the JNPT for Vadinar. The cargo ship was steered by an all-female crew, a first in global shipping history.

On this occasion, Minister Lekhi stated that Indian women have always been at the forefront of progress in all fields and now account for 48 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates. However, the extremely low proportion of women in the maritime economy shows an enormous potential for improvement. “The center continuously encourages empowered women to take the lead in various progressive initiatives for the benefit of society,” she said.

The Japanese Consul General Dr. Fukahori noted, “Through this trip, the SCI and the Indian Government have demonstrated exemplary leadership on a global front and made us all proud.”

SCI CMD HK Joshi urged all women seafarers to inspire at least five other female aspirants to join a maritime career in order to multiply the growth of women’s participation. “This initiative is designed to gradually promote and demonstrate the power of women in the maritime industry, which will only increase in the years to come,” she said.

Later, Minister Lekhi presented the captain of Mt. Swarna Godavari with a silver plaque in recognition of the fleet’s bravery and courage in embarking on the exciting voyage.

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Published on: Sunday May 15, 2022 12:08 AM IST

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