It’s the First Time In Maritime History That An All-Women Crew Piloted a SCI Vessel

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021, all industries and sectors went above and beyond to promote gender equality. But one of the most remarkable events that went down in the books of history was the courtesy of the Shipping Corporation of India.

Photo: twitter @mansukhmandaviya)

Women make history every day, and this time it was in the male-dominated maritime sector in the country. On 6th March 2021, the Minister of ports, shipping, waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya flagged off a Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) vessel MT Swarna Krishna with all women officers onboard. The vessel undertook the journey from Mumbai to Vadinar, Gujarat. The Union Minister presented the silver plaque to the captain of MT Swarna Krishna, Capt. Suneha Ghadpande to recognize the team’s courage and valor.

This is the first such event in the maritime history of the world that a ship is being led by all-women officers. On Women’s Day 2020, The Celebrity Edge cruise ship became the first ship to feature an all-female bridge and officers. It was a celebration of womanhood and diversity.

(Photo: twitter @shippingcorp)

Mandaviya acknowledged the contribution of women seafarers who made the nation proud. The Shipping Corporation of India, as a part of its ongoing Diamond Jubilee celebrations and also to commemorate the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, achieved another feat when Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ports, Shipping & Waterways, virtually flagged off the ‘All Women Officers’ Sailing’ on MT Swarna Krishna — SCI’s product carrier from JNPT Liquid Berth Jetty on March 6, 2021,” the Ministry statement said.

The virtual flag-off was attended by Secretary Shipping Sanjeev Ranjan, Chairman JNPT Sanjay Sethi, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, Rajiv Jalota, and DG Shipping Amitabh Kumar.

“Ms. HK Joshi, CMD, SCI, discussed the unabated and relentless pursuit of SCI to realize the ‘paradigm shift’ in the maritime sector. The sector has recognized and honored the ‘empowered womanhood’ in seafaring women who have dared, endeavored, and sacrificed to achieve it”, as reported by The Hindu.

The move is most likely to improve the gender imbalance that has so long been prevalent in the maritime sector. It will help the industry to adapt to the changing scenarios and incite progressive shift towards inclusivity. The SCI has been constantly working to fight the disparities by hiring the highest number of women seafarers, providing age relaxation. It also offers fee concession to the aspiring female candidates in its Maritime Training Institute. The company has also received several awards for promoting diversity and equality in the past.

The Director-General of Shipping congratulated Ms. HK Joshi on the occasion and expressed pride in SCI being a woman-led company for the first time in the 60-year history of its existence. He acknowledged that an “All Women Officers sailing” has been on the list of the Indian Shipping Regulatory Authority considering the exceptional women seafarers on the Indian fleet, some of whom he is familiar with. “He observed that this would be the first such event globally where a vessel of a certain Flag was being commanded and managed by an ‘All Women Officers’ of the same nationality — trained and certified also in the same country”, as reported by the SCI in their press release.

(Photo: twitter @shippingcorp)

It was a proud moment for women all over the world, especially the ones working in the maritime industry. Times are changing and SCI’s efforts to participate in the progress of the women seafarers is commendable. It followed this year’s United Nations theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. They also continued the 2019 International Maritime Organization (IMO) theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.

Inspired by the step of SCI, we can hope that more male-dominated industries will come forward and push for gender equality and inclusivity in their respective fields. SCI is helping break the stereotypes while upholding their principles for diversity and inclusion. We congratulate all the women officers onboard for their achievement and look forward to many more such voyages to happen.

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