Ms. Ghani said that seafarers' dedication, skills and talent is what improving the UK maritime sector. This is enabled by quality maritime education institutions, which provide high quality apprenticeships.

However, there is the need to ensure that these career opportunities are open to everyone, irrespective of their gender or background, which is not the case nowadays. She added that only 4% of the 10,600 UK certified officers active at sea are female.

The reasons for this are many and varied. But one thing is clear. This is a situation has got to change

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Nevertheless, the good thing is that there is some action taking place to improve this situation, especially by the Women in Maritime Taskforce. Last year it launched both the Women in Maritime Pledge and the Women in Maritime Charter, challenging companies to make progress on diversity. Now there are more than 100 signatories to the pledge. What is more, the organization is only mid-way through its work, with 4 organisations from across the maritime industry taking part.

Moreover, Ms. Ghani mentioned that Maritime 2050 sets the base to increase the diversity of the maritime sector by 2050. Namely, through Maritime 2050, the UK has pledged to:

  • Build on the success of the Women in Maritime Taskforce and other great joint government and industry initiatives.
  • To highlight the industry’s wide variety of career opportunities, both at sea and on land, to as wide an audience as possible. This includes funding a project called People Like Me — that will address the image of the industry and dispel myths.
  • And explore harnessing technology, such as connected ships, to enable seafarers stay in touch with family on shore.
  • Making periods away from home less isolating — improving mental wellbeing and making a career at sea a possibility for a wider variety of people.

Maritime 2050 is the first long-term strategy developed in close partnership with industry and highlights the government’s recognition of the importance of the maritime sector to Britain’s future success.

Maritime 2050 will enhance UK's strength on maritime innovation focusing mostly on autonomy and low-carbon technologies. For many of these technologies there is a time-limited golden opportunity to be an early adopter, particularly on low-carbon.

Additionally, Maritime 2050 is designed to maximise UK strength in this area, retaining and enhancing its competitive advantage and developing new areas to compliment the offer, like green finance.

Also, UK's maritime industry invests in infrastructure, as ports alone have over £1.6bn of investments in the pipeline.

Maritime 2050 will also deliver a skills commission to audit current and future skills needs, directing training as necessary.

The Maritime 2050 report highlights  the power of trade to lift people out of poverty and supports that 95% of the UK trade occurs from the maritime sector.