Driving change, diversity in the maritime world


The perception of the maritime industry as a male-dominated industry is set to change as women play an increasingly active role in the development of the industry.

According to Nautic South Africa’s Vessel Operations Manager, Anne Myers, who recently participated in the Second Annual Maritime Conference held in Durban in November: “Demand for skills development at all levels of operation in the southern African maritime sector has increased in line with the increasing complexity of the sector, and there was much discussion at the conference about the need for the ongoing professional development of women as well as the need to identify – and overcome – the barriers to effective performance through constant mentoring, coaching and development.”

Myers, who was invited to deliver an impromptu presentation on women in the seagoing operational sector as well as explain how Nautic Africa supports the development of women in the industry, says she was most impressed and encouraged by the active and enthusiastic participation of young women at the conference.

She says while it was evident that much had been achieved in terms of women progressing professionally in the maritime sector, there remained concerns over the fact that women were still marginalised in certain sectors of the industry.

“This shows there is still a lot of work to be done to level the playing fields,” says Myers, who has a combined 22 years’ experience in both the defence and commercial maritime sectors.

She says forward-thinking companies such as Nautic South Africa are supporting change and diversity in the industry by, for example, providing formalised workplace experiential training for graduates.

“An in-service graduate programme implemented at Nautic a year ago was so successful it led to all three of the trainees participating in the programme being offered permanent employment within the Nautic Group.

“Nautic has also provided vocational internships, which have, in turn, stimulated interest and awareness of the maritime industry at academic institutions that may have been unaware of the extent of the careers available in the maritime field.”

Myers urged men and women at all levels of management to partner to transform the sector.