At the event, that took place on 6 June, an all-female panel of experts, with many years' seagoing experience, spoke of some of the issues they have faced and which still need to be tackled. Many were simple yet vital things.

One panelist spoke of the absence of sanitary products onboard (despite shaving equipment being readily available) or a means to dispose of them.

Another mentioned the real threat of sexual harassment and even assault.

Another said she had experienced a stream of belittling comments from fellow crew members and felt a continual need to prove herself.

However, IMO noted, the overall tone was positive, with a strong feeling that a new generation of both male and female seafarers were no longer finding women at sea so surprising or difficult to cope with.

There was a clear view that more female role models and mentors, as well as females in senior positions, were needed but these were coming through with the generational shift.

All the panelists spoke in inspirational terms about the rewards of a maritime career and praised the many networking and mentoring organisations now established for women in maritime.

Earlier during Nor-Shipping, IMO's gender equality programme manager Helen Buni launched a new project with WISTA International to measure exactly how many women are working in the maritime industry.

The shipping industry, as a traditionally male-dominated industry, has shed its focus in the last years to enhance gender equality in a bid to boost diversity and therefore its efficiency.

This year, IMO's theme for World Maritime Day is "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" and this is echoed in the 2019 Day of the Seafarer campaign which will ask maritime professionals regardless of gender to say "I Am On Board" with gender equality at sea.