MARAD tackles culture change in the maritime industry

Lucinda Lessley, Acting Administrator of the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) hosted a virtual panel discussion titled “Creating Culture Change: From Intention to Action” with leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Industry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Sailor and Influencer April 26, 2022 focusing on promoting an onboard culture that promotes fair and dignified treatment of all on board.

“At DOT, we are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive culture in the maritime industry,” said Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “For our country to continue to reap the rewards of a strong, safe and well-equipped merchant navy, we must ensure that every person in the industry is treated with dignity and has the opportunity to succeed.”

The cultural panel event included three panelists, women leaders with deep experience in the maritime industry, legal and security community. The panelists were:
• Rear Admiral Nancy Hann, Director of the NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations Office (OMAO) and Director of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps
• Rear Admiral Melissa Bert, Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel, US Coast Guard
• Ally Cedeno, founder of Women Offshore, graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy

Each shared their experiences on current challenges within the industry, focusing on ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in a safe way for the next generation of sailors. The most important theme addressed around the theme of culture was transparency – transparency in organizational policies, communication practices and accountability systems.

“At the Maritime Administration, we believe that every workplace in the maritime industry should be a place where the core values ​​of mutual respect and dignity are firmly upheld and where all workers have an equal opportunity to excel in the based on their skills and professionalism,” said Lessley.

The virtual community also had the opportunity to submit questions in advance and in real time to the moderator. The questions focused on the recent break in the maritime year, additional safety measures on board ships, and legal and policy practices that can be used to combat negative cultures on board ships at sea.

The panel ended with a strong commitment to defining the kind of culture the maritime community wants, agreeing that the first step in moving from intention to action is to ensure strong collaboration between the organizations represented, the job functions and industries.

MARAD’s commitment to change
MARAD is working on several initiatives to create a culture change within the industry.

At the end of last year, at the US Merchant Marine Academy, MARAD suspended Sea Year training aboard commercial vessels that midshipmen undertake to gain the sea time they need to qualify for third-party licenses. officer and third engineer of the United States Coast Guard.

“To be very clear, we have done this so that we can reinforce both the measures we require of operators of vessels carrying cadets and also our own institutional policies, procedures and training instructions to improve safety and support a culture of respect,” Lessley explained.

MARAD has also developed a program called “Every Sailor Builds a Respectful Culture” or EMBARC to help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, to support survivors and to support a culture of accountability – and carriers must adopt these policies before cadets can board.

As of April 27, 2022, seven companies have registered with EMBARC – Crowley, OSHI, Keystone, Pasha, PGM, Patriot Contract Services and the ARC Group. MARAD’s goal is to have all US-flagged carriers operating vessels under EMBARC jurisdiction listed as quickly as possible.

Next steps
This kickoff launched MARAD’s celebration of National Maritime Day in 2022 with a “learning campaign” by hosting three virtual panel discussions focused on building the best future for the U.S. maritime industry.

The next two virtual panels will take place on May 23, 2022. The first will explore innovations in maritime technology and future trends in maritime decarbonization.

The closing panel will highlight MARAD’s commitment to supporting the seafarer workforce through our workforce development initiatives, the urgency of supporting seafarers, as well as their efforts in of mental health and well-being.

For more information on upcoming panels and to learn more about National Maritime Day, please visit MARAD’s National Maritime Day page.

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