Sadly, I did have a bad experience at sea, but let’s be real we all have bad times where we don’t feel included or part of the team. I have always been able to “hold my own” so to say, but sometimes it can be challenging. Unfortunately, I had a very bad time in one ship. Where I not only dealt with sexism but homophobia & racism.
I was losing out on opportunities to do exciting jobs and up my knowledge in certain areas & generally just having a hard time. It doesn’t make me any weaker to say I cried many times because I was just so frustrated. However, I was very lucky that it wasn’t everyone who was being like that towards me. I had a very good support system from my fellow cadets & other crew members. Once I brought the issues I was facing to the Captain he did his best to try to resolve the problem. Sometimes you have to deal with stuff like this, the better you deal with it the more resilient you become. I am proud of who I am and I’m not going to hide anything about myself just to make someone like me.
If there was one thing that I would advocate for IMO to implement in regards to Gender Equality in my industry is the provision of Female Sanitary Items & Sanitary Disposable Bins! Surprisingly enough it does not say it anywhere in the IMO Regulations, or Flag State regulations that it is mandatory to carry these items. Only once in my time at sea did I sail with other women. Usually, its just me and I bring a 4/5 month stock of these products. I have brought this issue up to many captains & even to the company, it fell on deaf ears. But I will continue to push for these to be mandatory on all of my Companies ships. I have had in-depth conversations with male officers & my male counterparts who also agree. Some of our ships spend 30+ days at sea, imagine if you didn’t plan correctly or bring enough with you, what would happen in that case?
I am Currently a Deck cadet! I finished up the “Sea phase” of my degree in November 2019 & have been back in college since January 2020, halfway through my first semester! While I was at sea I sailed on a VLCC for 4 months, an LNG Carrier for 5 months & an Aframax for 3.5 months.