Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has taken a critical step towards promoting gender diversity in Japan’s maritime shipping sector, appointing Naomi Matsushita as captain of its Beluga Ace auto transporter. This marks the first time that a female seafarer has assumed the role of captain in a Japanese shipping company, an encouraging development for an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated. Matsushita has previously worked onboard car carriers and container ships and has contributed to various onshore assignments, including supporting business units and ship management.
MOL’s appointment of Captain Naomi Matsushita is part of its ongoing efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion by demolishing traditional gender barriers. The company’s move aims to inspire and encourage women worldwide to pursue their dreams of working in shipping, emphasizing the enormous potential and skills of women seafarers that are often overlooked. Despite the maritime industry’s demand for qualified specialists, the interest in the seafaring profession has considerably decreased. Encouraging more women to pursue this career can help bridge the gap and ensure a sustainable future.
In this transitional period for the maritime industry, it is imperative to attract more women seafarers, promoting the values of diversity and inclusion while ensuring a truly sustainable future. Women still face barriers in the transportation industry, from gender stereotypes to concerns around work-life balance, but the recent appointment of Captain Naomi Matsushita highlights the importance of promoting gender diversity to bring new perspectives and ideas. The maritime industry needs to address the key underlying factors that discourage women from entering the profession. Otherwise, they miss out on the diverse perspectives and talent that gender diversity brings, eventually imposing a disservice upon the industry.
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