It's a man's world? Sheafarers in the shipping industry

Women in seafaring talk about their life and work on board a ship - in a masculine world. Click on their names to read their stories.

SHEfarer Nitu

lehavre nitu 01SHEfarer Nitu

Meeting Nitu on an only Indian crew Crude Oil tanker end of 2021. She was of course the only SHEafarer on board. Her contract was already 4 months when I visited the crew and talked to the Officers in the control room. When they informed the Captain, he said that I should wait cos if I had time, I should render private shopping with their female Officer possible which of course I did. Nitu struck me as a very decent, mature young person with a natural curiosity and I kept in lose contact with her by Whatsapp...

I am very glad that I have met her and hope SHEafares’ life will make us meet again.

Nitu Uniyal
Age- 26
Rank- 3rd Officer

started in the maritime business in 2017. In the interview she explained us the following:

Why did you decide to become seafarer?
I always wanted to pursue a career in a field that is different from others. Being from a defense background my father influenced me a lot. Merchant navy was one of a few career options, and I was lucky enough to be selected.

Why do you love your job?
 Well, firstly because this job gives me the opportunity to explore different countries and cultures. I get to work with people from different cultural backgrounds which gives me a lot of exposure and teaches me something new everytime. Secondly, because of the nature of the job - new challenges every day, the responsibilty , the sense of achievement. And lastly, the sunsets, sunrises, the starlit sky and the sea itself.

What is/ was your most dangerous incident on board?
Luckily, I haven’t experienced any dangrous incident onboard yet.

lehavre nitu 03

What do you miss the most on board during a contract? lehavre nitu 02
 Not being able to see my family or friends for months is what I miss the most. Sometimes I miss evening walks in greenery and not being able to see the latest shows :P

Do your see yourself being a feminist?
Yes, I do believe in equality for all regardless of their gender. I firmly believe everyone should be given equal opportunity and appreciation.

Would you support your daughter becoming a seafarer?
Definitely I’ll support my kids in pursuing whatever they aspire to be.

What is the most challenging in a crew for an only female seafarer?
As we have to work with variety of people onboard, the most challanging part is fighting the primitive mentality. But all that doesn’t matter after you have gained sufficient knowledge and experience onboard. All hard work pays off in the end.

How do you feel of the project of having only-female crews?
Such projects have already been a success and I really appreciate that women are now stepping up and taking up such challenges. I am also thankful that such opportunities are being delegated and support is being shown to such projects.

What are the advantages?
It’ll help women to socialize like in other fields, young aspiring girls have more female rolemodels to look upto and more women will be willing to join the Sea. Such projects will eventually help to equalize the gender balance in this field which sadly after so many years is still not there.

Do you think your experiences aboard can be generalized?
No, I firmly believe every person has their own journey and experience. In such a vast field every person faces different challenges.





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