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10 July 2018, 07:15 | Updated: 10 July 2018, 07:18
40 leading maritime companies have signed a gender equality charter in Southampton - to get more women into the industry.
Locally-based cruise firm Carnival, Associated British Ports, the Royal Navy and BP Shipping are among those committing to improve fairness and inclusion. Other signatories include the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Nautilus International, Seafarers UK, Solent LEP and Mersey Maritime.
The companies signing the pledge will now be engaged with the detailed development of the Women in Maritime Charter, which is being developed by a special maritime task force and is due to be launched in the autumn of 2018.
All companies signing the pledge will be making clear their support for creating positive change within their respective organisations, and collectively across the UK maritime sector.
The industry will produce a series of toolkits based upon best practice to support companies meeting the obligations they commit to under the charter.
David Dingle CBE, Chairman of Maritime UK, said:
"Today is truly a landmark moment for the UK maritime sector.
"Without a diverse workforce we will not be able to tackle the challenges we face - including innovating cutting-edge technology, which is required to decarbonise shipping. A plurality of ideas and creative thinking are absolutely critical to the future success of UK maritime, one of Britain's biggest industries.
"I'm encouraged by the reaction from companies across the sector. There is real determination to make progress, and to do so as an industry. Given the size of our sector, we have a real opportunity to affect significant change across the whole country."
Carol Howle, CEO of BP Shipping, (pictured) said:
"Any company that is interested in good business is interested in diversity."
Michelle Handforth, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said:
"Encouraging women to build their careers in this fantastic industry will help sustain and shape the future of the UK maritime industry in an ever more competitive global marketplace.
"The value of the contributions they will make and the perspectives they will bring cannot be underestimated and are vital to the future of the industry."
The first wave of companies and organisations to sign the pledge includes:
Aberdeen Harbour Board
AMI Marine Limited
Associated British Ports
British Ports Association
CLIA UK & Ireland
Complete Training Solutions
Cruise Academy Ltd
Harwich Haven Authority
Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
Mactra Marine Ltd
Maritime Skills Alliance
Peel Ports Group
Port of London Authority
Port of Milford Haven
Propeller Club Liverpool
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Society of Maritime Industries
The Baltic Exchange
The Nautical Institute
UK Chamber of Shipping
UK Major Ports Group