Over 300 members from WISTA national associations, including WISTA UK representatives, gathered in Istanbul for the AGM from 7-10 October.
Welcoming delegates to the conference WISTA International President Karin Orsel, said 36 countries were represented – the biggest attendance ever. She said this showed how important Turkey was as a shipping hub.
Opening the debate, entitled Veins of Shipping, Sadan Kaptanoglu of BIMCO and WISTA Turkey gave the background to the changes and challenges shipping faces over the next 10 years.
The industry’s biggest problem at the moment was oversupply, Ms Kaptanoglu explained. “The shipbuilding market is too elastic and as long as the market continues like this we will see shorter positive cycles and longer negative ones.”
Turning to regulatory changes she said there was “10 years of change in prospect. It is crucial to maintain a level playing field for shipping companies, especially in emissions areas, so that those who comply are not at a disadvantage.” Ms Kaptanoglu appealed to governments to “robustly enforce” emissions regulation and support IMO. International bodies such as WISTA and BIMCO had an important role in achieving this and should work together for the industry, she added.
Turning to the low number of female seafarers, generally considered to make up 2% of those at sea, Captain Harun Duzgoren, Business Development Director, EMEA for V Ships Group commented: “I’m having a serious fight in my organisation to employ more female seafarers. I have made it a mission of mine to employ more.”
Samjam Gupta of WISTA India explained how when she went to conferences often the audience was addressed as “Gentlemen” as she was overlooked as the only woman in the room “I go back upset”. She spoke of her effort to promote female seafarers. Over two months she approached 25 companies but none was prepared to hire women.
An impassioned intervention came from Rani of WISTA Pakistan who was the first Pakistani woman to go to the World Maritime University. She found it a hard task to convince her family and others to give her the chance to go. “We are setting a new culture,” she said. “The last five years have been a hard struggle.”
Bridget Hogan of WISTA UK attracted a round of applause when she described her attempts to get onto the floor of the Baltic Exchange in 1974 when women were prohibited from going there. She described entering the floor through the kitchens only to be physically carried off.
This guest blog was written by Bridget Hogan, Secretary, WISTA-UK. Find out more at http://wista-uk.net/