Key Highlights:

  • Report finds 7.5% of seafarers are female, 30% of companies employ women on their board
  • At least three languages spoken on the average ship
  • ICS sets baseline for diversity and inclusion targets and will release an updated Tracker every three years

Accordingly, the report revealed that 30% of companies employ women in board-level roles, and close to 60% of companies have female officers on board their ships, just 7.5% of total seafarers were female.

Although, it is promising that many (75%) companies have a maternity leave policy, the report also notes it is vital that the policies are robust and raises concerns over whether companies actively encourage diversity and inclusion amongst crews and staff.

In addition, the report discusses the the value of diversity, inclusion, and individual differences, information from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) study, Recruitment and retention of seafarers and the promotion of opportunities for women seafarers, results of the ICS Diversity survey conducted in Autumn 2019, participated by 240 shipping companies, key conclusions and recommendations based on the report and survey.

ICS advises shipowners to follow the tips below:

  • Consider widely disseminating guidance, including ICS–ITF publications, concerning bullying and harassment, seafarers’ welfare and other issues in English and other languages;
  • Market opportunities at sea and ashore for women to ensure their perspective is included in policies and discussions on promotion of opportunities for women seafarers;
  • Identify role models and establish mentoring and networking programmes for women seafarers and groups vulnerable to discrimination, provide training to deconstruct misconceptions, highlight gender equalities and establish policies of zero tolerance on bullying and harassment;
  • Consider establishing a working group to identify the best way forward to provide seafarers with an independent counselling network available to seafarers who may develop mental health issues, anxiety or symptoms of depression;
  • Consider cooperating in promoting provision of qualifying sea time for seafarers under training via collective bargaining agreements or other appropriate means.

Moreover, as shown in the infographic below, workplace diversity also links with discrimination. Diversity and inclusion are distinct terms; diverse employees do not automatically form an inclusive workplace where every employee is valued and can thrive.

Least common measures taken relating to Diversity 

Two recently formed panels, the ICS Diversity Panel and the ICS Women in Shipping Panel are using the report to consider further steps.

Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment affairs for the International Chamber of Shipping concluded that

Many industry sectors have been focusing on diversity for many years but the shipping industry as a whole has been disappointingly behind the curve. The ICS Diversity Study Report aims to outline where we are now and where we need to get to as an industry in the next few years.


To learn more click on the report herebelow

ICS - Diversity tracker