When the Nautical Institute conducted a Women in Maritime event onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer last year, the organisation came face to face with the future it seeks to achieve in which more women have opportunities to become career seafarers.
The Institute and its guests were welcomed by six third officers who are currently taking part in a special mentoring program on Pacific Explorer on their path to becoming senior deck officers on Carnival Australia-brand cruise ships.
The six, pictured here with Pacific Explorer Hotel Director Melissa Yates (centre), are (left to right) Hilary Cassano, Laura Abbruzetti, Rachel Davies, Lauren Brunton, Bryony Rodger and Emma Forbes-Gearey.
All have previous experience on cargo ships, bulk carriers or offshore rigs and are now participating in a program to ensure more women have opportunities to take their place as professional mariners. They are being supported onboard Pacific Explorer by accomplished Hotel Director, Melissa Yates, the daughter of a recently retired ship captain, who worked her way through the hotel operations ranks to her current senior position.
“There are many women working on cruise ships and, during my years at sea, I have always been and felt accepted as part of the team,” Melissa said. “But it is distressing when I hear women tell me that their experience was quite different in other areas of shipping. It makes me realise how fortunate I have been.”
With women comprising only two per cent of the world’s seafarers, according to the Nautical Institute, the organisation is trying to raise awareness of the need to achieve greater gender balance by addressing barriers that can discourage women from seeking careers at sea.