Sailing toward the International Day for Women in Maritime, 2022, marked on 18 May, an all-women merchant officers’ fleet set off for the high seas onboard MT Swarna Godavari on 14th May. Conducted by the Navratna National Shipping Company, the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI), the flag-off ceremony had been graced by the state’s Union minister for culture and external affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi.
Amitabh Kumar, the Directorate General of Shipping, was the guest of honour and other dignitaries from the Consulate of Japan were also present. En route from the city’s Jawahar Dweep oil terminal, m.t Swarna Godavari is the second vessel that boasts an all-women fleet.
The women empowering trend was initiated by the SCI around last year when MT Swarna Krishna had left JNPT for Vadinar. The cargo vessel was steered by an all-women crew, a first in global maritime history.
Speaking on the occasion, minister Lekhi mentioned that Indian women have spearheaded progress and constitute about 48 per cent of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) graduates.
However, the extremely low share of women in the maritime industry reflects a massive scope for further improvement. She added that the Center is encouraging empowered women to take the lead in progressive initiatives for the benefit of the entire society.
Dr Fukahori, Japan’s consul-general, remarked that via the voyage, the Government of India and SCI have demonstrated excellent leadership skills on a global front.
SCI CMD H K Joshi urged women seafarers to inspire five other women aspirants to take part in a maritime career, achieving a multifold growth in women’s participation.
She added that the initiative is to encourage and demonstrate women’s power in the maritime industry. This will augment in the future years.
Minister Lekhi, later on, rewarded a silver plaque to MT Swarna Godavari’s captain for the fleet’s valour and enthusiasm to commence the voyage.