Press coverage from my presentation to IMO, June 2013

Press coverage from my presentation to IMO, June 2013

Quoted from the author, article published in BIMCO, Marine Insight, and Company of Master Mariners of Australia; “Inevitably the most disruptive presentation of the afternoon came from the youngest person, Birgit Liodden, founder of Norway’s YoungShip and campaigner for next generation involvement in an industry she fears is falling desperately behind in the race to secure the talent it needs.

I don’t think Liodden was being deliberately provocative when she called shipping “an industry of grey men”. IMO, after all, is one of the more balanced forums in terms of gender and diversity.

I think her point was that to improve safety and environmental performance as well as to improve the perception of the importance of shipping would need not just new role models but corporate structures capable of identifying, nurturing and delivering those role models too.

In that sense Liodden brought the two sides of this debate together. Shipping must pay much greater attention to the human factor but that does not just mean seafarers. It also means shore staff and company officers adopting a top to bottom safety and performance culture. The potential of such an approach might not be that we throw away hundreds of years of commercial practice but that we understand that achieving safety beyond compliance will require a degree of that transparency that will be new to shipping.

More than this, it means that, as the men and women in suits understand more about their counterparts in boiler-suits, there will be less temptation or tendency to scapegoat mariners for non-compliance and a better chance to recognise them for what they are: the strongest link in the chain.”

Neville Smith, reporter for Marine Insight

Environment & climate Global focus Leadership & values Shipping

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