Third Officer Katie Baxter explains how it is to be a woman at sea as the International Day of the Seafarer is celebrated on 25 June, with the campaign "I am on board with gender equality".
A.P. Moller - Maersk has more than 11.000 colleagues - men and women - at sea, who are making highly valuable contributions to global trade and in driving the company strategy every day.
Since 2010, the Day of the Seafarer has been celebrated every year to highlight the contributions of seafarers to the world economy and society as a whole. This year, the celebration is taken further by putting a spotlight on gender equality. The campaign drives the empowerment of women in the maritime industry, recognising their contributions and aspirations.
As Maersk continues to have a culture that truly and fully supports equal opportunities in the workplace, on land and at sea, this day represents a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective from a colleague at sea.
So what is it like to work on one of our vessels? Third Officer Katie Baxter onboard the Mary Maersk explains:
How did you find yourself in a career at sea?
For as long as I can remember I have always dreamt of working at sea. After getting a Maersk Line sponsorship through my nautical training at college, I obtained all requirements to sail - and earned a ticket on a Triple-E containership. Signing onto a ship of this size was definitely intimidating. However, the crew and captain made me feel welcome and my first trip was both successful and extremely enjoyable. Over time, I became well-acquainted with how these vessels operated and the busy coastal schedule that they often had.
How does it feel to work in a multi-cultural environment?
Meeting and working with people from different cultures is both interesting and challenging - it's one of my favourite aspects of the job! I love to hear about their ways of life, and I'm privileged enough to now have friends from all over the world. That being said, working with a multi-cultural crew can also have its challenges. Being British, my way of communication can often seem authoritative when I don't intend to be, so I sometimes have to be careful about how I approach certain situations.
What's the one thing you would want your colleagues at land to know?
This may sound a bit cliché, but working at sea is really hard work. The work environment is often fast-paced and can be stressful at times. We never really get used to the hours of work, especially on ships like the Triple E's that require a lot of maintenance. We get very good at power napping! We also often don't see our loved ones for more than three months. I don't take little things for granted. When I'm away, I often miss a good cup of coffee or my favourite food.
This year's theme for Day of the Seafarer is ‘I am on board with gender equality’. What does this topic mean to you?
We have done so well with the gender equality issue, but there are is still room for improvement. It's important that this is addressed in the shipping industry. Respect for each other is pivotal when working in an environment like this.
Quick Bio of Katie Baxter
Position: Third Officer
Years at Maersk: 5 years
Sailed on: Magleby Maersk, Moscow Maersk, Marstal Maersk and Mary Maersk
What is the Day of the Seafarer
June 25 is the Day of the Seafarer, an annual and international event day coordinated by the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations specialised agency with the responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Read more about this year's celebration on the International Maritime Organisation site.