Generations Y and Z urge maritime industry to make human sustainability a strategic priority

The call for change is clear from the 188 young leaders from 27 different countries, who took part in the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition, organized by the World Maritime Forum. The main issues addressed in the trials are human safety, inclusion and diversity, health and well-being, and securing future skills and competencies across the industry.

“It was very clear that young thought leaders in the maritime industry have a clear vision of what it takes to attract a large pool of talent. Their message is clear, the maritime industry must improve the holistic approach to human sustainability, human well-being and working conditions at sea,” said Selection Committee Chair Christine Loh, Chief Strategist of the Development, Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The top 30 contestants and nine previous essay contest winners attended a virtual seminar in August 2022 to develop their vision for the maritime industry. Their discussions resulted in a clear call for industry leaders to collectively improve diversity and inclusion, flexibility, purpose and values, decent working conditions and safety, and better career opportunities at sea and ashore.

“It gives me great hope for the future of the maritime sector to discover the passion and insight of young thought leaders with strong aspirations to make human sustainability a strategic priority across the industry. We will continue to engage with the next generation of maritime leaders to amplify their voices and views on how the maritime industry can improve,” said Susanne Justesen, Project Director, Human Sustainability at the World Maritime Forum.

The essay competition aims to give students and young professionals aged 18-30 a voice in the debate on how the maritime industry can sustainably address maritime challenges and opportunities – and to give the industry a chance to listen. This year, three winners from India, England and the Philippines highlighted ways in which the maritime industry can significantly improve its approach to human sustainability.

Shaharaj Ahmed, a 22-year-old economics student at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, from the Philippines. In his essay titled: “Cultivating Humane Labor Practices in the Maritime Industry,” Shararaj argues that the application of humane labor practices is the most critical human sustainability issue in the maritime industry. Many seafarers work longer hours and receive less pay than stipulated in regulations or contracts. Shaharaj proposes to address these issues through stricter enforcement as well as the use of digital technologies such as blockchain to give seafarers control over their data.

Apurva Chaubal, 24, Associate Voyage Manager at Maersk Tankers in Mumbai, India. In her essays, titled: “Mental Health and Inclusion: Prioritizing the Need for Awareness and Training”, she explains how seafaring can be restored as one of the world’s most prestigious careers by addressing concerns raised by existing seafarers. , including long working hours, low pay, loneliness and mental health, for example by providing tools such as a global mental health helpline.

James Helliwell, a 27-year-old project engineer at Shell in London. In his essay, entitled ‘Fuels of the future must be safe for seafarers’, he stresses the need to put human sustainability and seafarer safety first before introducing new zero-emission fuels such as as ammonia and hydrogen, which present new safety risks. James argues for the urgent need for more research into how people on ships can safely interact with these fuels.

The winners of the essay competition will attend the annual Global Maritime Forum Summit on September 22-23 in New York, representing the generation of maritime talent. The high-level meeting will bring together over 200 leaders from across the maritime spectrum to identify ways in which maritime actors can act to create the future we want and need.
Source: World Maritime Forum