THE NAUTICAL Institute’s Women in Maritime luncheon held this week on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer showcased P&O’s mentoring program that provides opportunities for young people, including many women, to pursue careers at sea.
Luncheon attendees were welcomed by six third officers who are taking part in the program on Pacific Explorer. All six are on a path to become senior deck officers on Carnival Australia-branded ships.
The six, pictured below with Pacific Explorer hotel director Melissa Yates (centre), are (left to right) Hilary Cassano, Laura Abbruzetti, Rachel Davies, Lauren Brunton, Bryony Rodger and Emma Forbes-Gearey.
All have previous experience on cargo ships, bulk carriers or offshore rigs and are now participating in a program to ensure more women have opportunities to take their place as professional mariners.
They are being supported onboard Pacific Explorer by Ms Yates, the daughter of a recently retired ship captain, who worked her way through the hotel operations ranks to her current senior position.
“There are many women working on cruise ships and, during my years at sea, I have always been and felt accepted as part of the team,” Ms Yates said.
“But, it is distressing when I hear women tell me that their experience was quite different in other areas of shipping. It makes me realise how fortunate I have been.”
With women comprising only 2% of the world’s seafarers, according to the Nautical Institute, the organisation is trying to raise awareness of the need to achieve greater gender balance by addressing barriers that can discourage women from seeking careers at sea.