Last Monday began the biggest manning event in the world, Crew Connect Global, which will go on until November 21. The Philippines is profoundly honored to be hosting this prestigious event in Manila this year, at Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
Over 500 delegates from 40 maritime nations are attending the four-day conference, which has been, for the past 21 years, the leading event for professionals in manning, shipping, and maritime education and training. It enjoys the staunch support of government organizations, as well as local and international maritime organizations. The Philippines will be represented by OIC-administrator Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson of the Maritime Industy Authority along with other maritime executives, stakeholders, and industry leaders.
As many as 90 global experts will share knowledge and insights on various topics related to manpower. They come from companies in the fields of shipping, education, cruise management, tourism, hospitality, medicine, and coaching, among others. Topics include Competency Planning for Automated Shipping, Crew Welfare Management, Digital Data and Crewing Efficiencies, Automation in Global Transport, Safety at Sea, Recruitment and Retention, Outlook for Shipping Markets in Turbulent Times, P&I Claims, Diversity and Inclusivity in Shipping, Training Strategies for Innovation, and Dealing with Millennials.
The CruiseConnect Summit will also be returning to examine the manpower solutions required for the cruise industry. This year the focus will be on Women in Shipping. The programme will explore the ways in which women can be empowered in the industry, the unique challenges they face, and how to encourage more of them to consider a career in shipping.
Crew Connect is organized by Informa, a London-based multi-national and publishing company with Lloyd’s List as one of its many brands; Lloyd’s List is one of the world’s oldest and continuously-publishing journal which provides shipping news since 1734.
One thing that has contributed to Crew Connect’s strength and steadfastness is its striking diversity. Various personalities, professions, organizations, and countries come together because they face the same challenges, and because they believe that there are varied ways to approach them, which they can share with one another. Diversity is a hallmark of shipping and is one of the attributes that make it the dynamic industry that it is.
In fact, the International Chamber of Shipping has actively pursued initiatives to further strengthen, study and support this culture of diversity and inclusion. Beginning with efforts to promote women in maritime to taking into consideration such factors as age, nationality, disability, and religion on board, among others. On this week of Crew Connect, the ICS is scheduled to introduce guildeines on age discrimination in shipping. It will also present the results and recommendations from a global survey they have conducted on diversity issues, for consideration and discussion by industry stakeholders at the conference.
We, in the industry, do have strong opinions—that’s how we got to where we are—and there are things we may disagree on. But there’s one thing we all can agree on: that a growing maritime industry is good for all of us.
Nowadays we hear so much about echo chambers. It is not a new concept, just an old one borrowed from the recording industry: simply put, it is an enclosed space where sound reverberates.
But in the age of social media, the term is now used to mean an environment where we encounter only beliefs or opinions that agree with our own, so that our existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered. By staying in an “echo chamber,” people are able to find information that only validates their own beliefs and strengthens confirmation bias. Even if someone comes along with different information that may be correct, our own views have already hardened and cannot be changed.
We cannot allow this to happen. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.”
Let us delight in our diversity, and reap the benefits of a welcoming and accepting maritime industry.