Calls for no mandatory pregnancy tests for women seafarers

Teresa Lloyd, CEO of Maritime Industry Australia, speaking at the World Maritime Day commemorations held at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney on 30 July. Credit: AMSA

Teresa Lloyd, CEO of Maritime Industry Australia, one of Australia’s two peak shipping associations, said how far shipping must go in its treatment of women seafarers during a keynote speech to commemorate Australia’s World Maritime Day on 30 July.

“I wanted to celebrate the fact there are women around,” she told Safety at Sea. “I did want to reflect on the fact that the maritime industry in Australia has no barriers for women. This is not the case worldwide. The industry has a long way to go internationally. It breaks my heart when I hear of mandatory pregnancy testing for women to exclude them from seafaring jobs in some countries.”

Lloyd was a keynote speaker alongside International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Kitack Lim at the World Maritime Day commemorations held at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney on 30 July.

She noted that progress has been made, with women now making up 6% of Australians at sea, holding International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) qualifications. On shore in Australia, former women mariners make up 3% of the workforce.

“The maritime industry is bigger than people at sea,” Lloyd said, pointing to maritime law, customs, and shore-based jobs.

Lloyd told Safety at Sea she lamented the lack of government interest in fostering an Australian maritime industry.

“We will soldier on,” said Lloyd. “Our number one issue is preparing for a skill shortage and putting training pathways in place. Skill is huge for us. It’s not an issue now with the offshore industry contracting and a high jobless rate. But in 5 or 10 years it will be. We’re projecting a shortage of around 560 jobs by 2023. If we rely on skilled migration we will be competing with every other OECD nation.”

Other speakers on the night included Alison Cusack, president of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, Australia; and Jeanine Drummond, harbour master, Newcastle.