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.
Member States of the IMO have urged further firm action in coming years to advance gender equality throughout the maritime sector and reach a barrier-free environment, following a year of action to “empower women in the maritime community” – the World Maritime theme for 2019.
IMO Assembly adoption of resolution
The IMO Assembly, meeting for its 31st session from 25 November to 4 December adopted a resolution on Preserving the Legacy of the World Maritime Theme for 2019 and achieving a Barrier-Free Working Environment for Women in the Maritime Sector.
This resolution urges governments, maritime administrations and the industry to endeavour to reach a barrier-free environment for women, so that all women can participate fully, safely and without hindrance in the activities of the maritime community, including seafaring and shipbuilding activities.
Furthermore, the resolution notes testimony from women from across the various maritime industries which demonstrates that barriers and obstacles still exist at every level. Work towards gender equality, including the fostering of a safe environment for women in the maritime sector, remains incomplete and should continue to be pursued.
Governments, maritime administrations and the industry should consider ways to continuously identify and overcome existing constraints in all aspects of the maritime sector, in particular, in terms of recruitment, promotion, training, capacity-building and technical cooperation.
Additionally, the resolution encourages sharing of best practices in achieving gender equality. It also encourages efforts to collect, consolidate and analyse data relating to the participation of women in the maritime sector, in order to establish an evidentiary foundation that will set baselines, identify gaps and inform policies aimed at removing barriers and increasing female participation in the sector.
Finally, the resolution also encourages IMO, and its relevant subsidiary bodies to take into consideration gender equality, including the fostering of a safe environment for women in the maritime sector, and integrate these considerations into their work. Open dialogue and wider engagement between the Member States and observer delegations is encouraged.
A barrier-free environment
An IMO media briefing of 5 December on the topic of gender equality informed that creation of a barrier-free environment for women will help facilitate the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality.
WMD 2019 theme
World Maritime Day’s theme in 2019 was Empowering women in the maritime community. This has helped raise awareness of the importance of gender equality and highlight the important, yet under-utilized, contribution of women within the maritime sector. Many maritime stakeholders have enthusiastically taken up the theme at seminars, conferences and panel discussions, it is reported.
Throughout the year, IMO worked with various maritime stakeholders to help create an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes and to encourage more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space.
Encouragement of associations
IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has pushed forward with numerous activities, including premiering a new film, launching profiles of women in the maritime sector and providing support to Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) launched through the programme.
The illustration here is reproduced by kind courtesy of IMO ©
On 7 April the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) reported that multipurpose coastguard support via a remotely piloted surveillance system (RPAS) services had been provided at the request of the Romanian Border Police.
(See illustrations here from EMSA / Romanian authorities ©)
The RPAS system will support a number of authorities in Black Sea waters including the Romanian Naval Authority and National Agency for Fishing and Aquaculture.
It is understood that the mid-sized RPAS craft can stay in the air for up to seven hours and has a range of up to 200km. It is equipped with a camera capable of day and night operations, a sea surface scanner, a distress beacon detector and a sensor that can detect vessel positions. It can be used for a range of activities, including border control, monitoring naval traffic, search and rescue, and environmental protection. Data from the RPAS can be recorded and transferred to the EMSA RPAS data centre in real time, and then made immediately available to national authorities.
It is noted from the latest European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Newsletter issued at the beginning of April that on 26 March, EMSA hosted an online workshop on shore-side electricity for port authorities and administrations.
EMSA reported that the event saw nearly 300 experts from different sectors of Europe and around the globe whose work is related to the development, certification and operation of shore-side electricity projects in ports.
The initial aim of the workshop was to gather feedback from stakeholders on the continuing guidance project on shore-side electricity, by encouraging an exchange of ideas and reaction to draft documents under consultation.
However, the scope was extended as registration exceeded expectations. This allowed for presentations to be given on other initiatives in the field currently being worked on. A contribution from the IMO and several interventions from international standardisation experts were of particular relevance to the work EMSA is currently conducting in this area for port authorities and administrations.