Seaways - June 2022

01 Jun 2022 Institute News

Change is all around us. The pandemic continues, yes, and many continue to face lock downs and strict restrictions, even while others are now returning to a ‘new normal’. The anger and strife of war challenges us all on operational and personal levels. The challenges of global warming and severe weather events.

The challenge of change

The challenges of changing regulations, digitalisation, automation and more. Challenges and change are part and parcel of what we know as maritime professionals. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Nautical Institute, we have a chance to look back at our achievements and look forward to the next 50 years.

Personally, I have a chance to look back over the past two years in my role as President of this amazing organisation. What a strange time to be President – a presidency that has seen me participate in events almost entirely from my home officce in Canberra, Australia.

Looking back at July 2020, I set three challenges for my term as President:

● Addressing diversity and inclusion in the maritime industry;

● Empowering and engaging with the branches – what I call our ‘professional family’;

● Addressing the impact of technology on the role of the maritime professional.

The past two years have seen signi cant movement in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. On May 18, 2022 we celebrated the first ‘Women in Maritime Day’ as designated by the IMO. While I still work towards a day when we no longer have ‘first’ women events, or feel the need to specifically celebrate women working in the industry, this is an opportunity to reflect on the need for equity and inclusion in our industry.

In addition to the focus on women in maritime, I have also had the opportunity to engage with and encourage the younger members of the industry. The engagement through the Younger Members Council provides the NI with an opportunity to look towards the future with energy and vision. As maritime professionals, we have an opportunity, indeed an obligation, to ensure everyone feels included, providing support for each other, learning how to be allies in difficult situations, and recognising the strength in diversity. I look forward to the start of the NI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) working group. Don’t forget to identify your interest in this group, as noted in Seaways, March 2022.

Though the pandemic has been difficult to navigate, there are positives. One is the opportunity to embrace technology to communicate across the globe, and engage with the wider maritime industry. Digital communication platforms have provided an opportunity to engage actively with many branches and members. Through professional media such as LinkedIn as well as the digital magic of Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting and more I have spent the last two years being active in more ways than I could have ever imagined. By being forced ‘online’ I have been able to be truly engaged on a global scale with our membership and beyond. This has included the implementation of the NI Presidential Team (PT), an opportunity for the NI Presidents to meet, discuss the issues and identify opportunities to support the Institute. With regular Zoom meetings, the NI PT provides insights into the challenges and opportunities across a range of areas of expertise.

The digitalisation of the maritime environment continues. What does that mean for the maritime professional? We are doing a deep dive into this through the work of the Autonomous Technology Advisory Group (ATAG). You will have seen the excellent articles on digitalisation in many editions of Seaways, including the recent article by ATAG members ‘Designing the digital crew member’. Developments in technology also lead to developments and changes in regulations, training and more. With developments both onboard and ashore we need to focus on the user needs – but who will be the user? The article by the ATAG members highlights the changes that are here now, the state of the current developments and what we need to think of for the future. As the digital transformation of the industry continues, and the nature of work is changing, there is an ongoing focus on human centred design.

With our focus on the future, the NI vision remains the representation of the best of what the shipping industry has to offer in terms of our members – dedicated, diverse, and visionary maritime professionals. So, while we continue to face the challenge of change, we also have the opportunity to celebrate!