Sailing towards the International Day for Women in Maritime, 2022, which is marked on May 18, an all women merchant officers’ fleet on Saturday set off for the high seas on board m.t Swarna Godavari.
Organised by the Navratna National Shipping Company, the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI), the flag off ceremony was graced by Union minister of state for external affairs and culture, Meenakshi Lekhi. While the Directorate General of Shipping director general, Amitabh Kumar, IRS was the guest of honour, and other dignitaries were from the Consulate of Japan.
Setting sail from the city's Jawahar Dweep oil terminal, m.t Swarna Godavari is the second ship boasting an all-women fleet. The women empowering trend was started by the SCI last year when m.t. Swarna Krishna departed from JNPT to Vadinar. The cargo vessel was steered by an all-women crew, a first in global maritime history.
Speaking on the occasion, minister Lekhi stated that Indian women have always been at the forefront in all spheres of progress and today constitute a share of 48 per cent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) graduates. However, the extremely low share of women in the maritime industry depicts an enormous scope for improvement. “The Centre is continuously encouraging the empowered women to take lead in various progressive initiatives for the benefit of society,” she said.
While Japan consul-general Dr Fukahori remarked, "Through this voyage, the SCI and Government of India have demonstrated exemplary leadership at a global front, and made all of us proud."
SCI CMD H K Joshi urged all the women seafarers to inspire at least five other women aspirants to join a maritime career, thus, achieving a multifold growth in women participation. "This initiative is to progressively encourage and demonstrate the women's power to the maritime industry, which will only augment in the years to come," she said.
Later, minister Lekhi presented a silver plaque to the captain of m.t. Swarna Godavari in recognition of the fleet's valour and courage to commence the exhilarating voyage.