PORT of Brisbane and Cunard combined to celebrate International Women’s Day on-board Cunard’s ship Queen Victoria.

With more than 120 guests, the event was aimed at recognising the contribution of women in the maritime sector.

Among the guests were Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Port of Brisbane chair Jerry Maycock and Carnival Australia chair Ann Sherry AO.

Mr Maycock said the event was an opportunity to celebrate women in the industry while also sharing insights and experiences.

Enjoying International Women’s Day on board the Queen Victoria. Credit: Port of Brisbane

“We know there is a level of difficulty in attracting women to a career as deck officers in the maritime industry; that traditional barriers of entry have meant women fill just 2% of seafaring positions globally,” he said.

“Our responsibility is to question why these barriers exist, find a way to remove them and help connect women with opportunities available in our industry.”

Mr Maycock said Port of Brisbane was proud of a 24-month paid employment and training cadetship program for women seeking to build a career in the maritime industry.

“But beyond creating opportunities to support more women to enter the industry, we also recognise that we need to have the right programs and policies in place to support women throughout their careers, and at all levels,” he said.


Carnival Australia’s Ann Sherry said they were proud to be playing a part in addressing gender balance among seafarers via a training program for female third officers.

“Last year, our home brand, P&O Cruises Australia, hosted a group of young women destined for senior roles as deck officers during a familiarisation program on the cruise line’s flagship Pacific Explorer,” Ms Sherry said.

“This group and other women like them will ultimately serve as deck officers within our global organisation in which there is already a female seafarer at the helm with Cunard’s Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge who has been in Australia recently in command of Queen Elizabeth.”

“Captain Thorhauge and other women moving up the ranks are testament to the fact that women can excel in seafaring and break down barriers in a traditionally male dominated realm.”

Mr Maycock said during the last 12 months, PBPL had introduced several exciting new initiatives to support its employees including a cadetship program for women, a parental leave policy, a mentoring program and a graduate program.