Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
It was announced on 8 February that IMO has launched a new logo for its Women in Maritime programme, as part of its mission to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Programme lead Helen Buni said: ‘The IMO Women in Maritime programme supports the participation of women in both shore-based and sea-going posts, under the slogan Training-Visibility-Recognition’, through a wide range of gender-specific activities. The new logo is just one visible part of the programme and will help women in maritime gain more visibility and exposure throughout the maritime sector and beyond.’
Primary objective of the IMO Women in Maritime programme is to encourage IMO Member States to open the doors of their maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men and acquire the high-level of competence that the maritime industry demands.
Since the programme was established 31 years ago, its portfolio of activities has grown extensively. IMO has facilitated the establishment of seven regional associations for women in the maritime sector across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands, some 152 countries and dependent territories and 490 participants.
Access to high-level training
IMO’s programme provides gender-specific fellowships, giving access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries. A good example is the long-running Women in Port Management course, hosted in Le Havre, France, in partnership with the Port Institute for Education and Research (IPER) and the Le Havre Port Authority, where, in 2018, 48 women from 32 countries received training on port management. A total of 308 women have received training under this activity alone.
At IMO’s World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden, the proportion of women graduates has increased steadily over the years. The number of female graduates has increased steadily over the years – from 4 in 1985 to 79 in 2018. By the end of the academic year 2017-2018, 1,029 females had graduated from the University, out of a total 4,919 graduates.
In Malta, at IMO’s International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), 361 women had graduated by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, out of a total of 837 graduates.
IMO also facilitates the identification and selection of women by their respective authorities for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes.
Activities this year
During 2019, some ten activities are planned under the umbrella of the IMO Women in Maritime programme, including conferences, courses, workshops and regional meetings.
Ms Buni concluded by saying: ‘We are inviting IMO Member States and particularly the regional associations for women in the maritime sector to use the new logo as they see fit, to show that they are part of a strong, global IMO Women in Maritime family’.
Launch of the new logo for the Women in Maritime programme comes as IMO focuses on women in maritime during 2019, under the World Maritime Day theme: Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.
The Women in Maritime programme is largely funded through IMO’s Technical Cooperation fund, with a great deal of in-kind and financial support from a number of donors. IMO continues to seek new sources of funding in order to support the programme into the future.
IMO’s Women in Maritime programme was formerly known as the programme for the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS).
The IMO has agreed to address maritime corruption by including this important issue in its work programme for the Facilitation Committee. The decision to include an anti-corruption agenda came at the latest meeting of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL 43 held 8-12 April) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, UK, US and Vanuatu. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) co-sponsored the submission along with a number of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (illustrated) commented: ‘Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. This is a global issue but we all need to work to eradicate corrupt practices. We are pleased that the IMO will be working to address this important issue and we will support the member states in stamping out this scourge.’
A mass rescue operation – indeed, any incident beyond everyday capability – is a challenge for any State and any SAR organisation; but this is particularly so for small States and organisations, whose planning and response capabilities are naturally limited. A cruise ship accident in the Caribbean, for example, where many such ships trade, is a very rare event, but still a possible one. Rarity is part of the problem.
Thus the scene is set by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF see: www.international-maritime-rescue.org ).
This then begs a question
How do you prepare for such huge, once-in-a-career challenges?
In the UK IMRF Member the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the UK Government, takes this question very seriously.