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Nautilus represented at ground-breaking LGBT+ industry roundtable

2 July 2021

Nautilus International was represented at Maritime UK's Diversity in Maritime first LGBT+ industry roundtable, which explored ways to increase LGBT+ representation in maritime.

The inaugural event, held online on 29 June at the conclusion of Pride month, was part of the Maritime UK Pride in Maritime Network's one-year anniversary celebrations and was attended by senior leaders from across the UK maritime industry.

The meeting was attended by the Union's general secretary Mark Dickinson, who is also a commissioner on the Maritime Skills Commission. It was chaired by the Union's international organiser and chair of the Pride in Maritime Network Danny McGowan.

The high-level meeting's goal was to start a conversation and explore ideas amongst employers about the steps they can take to improve LGBT+ diversity in maritime in collaboration with the network and with Nautilus.

It explored some practical ways to remove barriers for LGBT+ people, including positive steps for improving environment, social and governance (ESG) strategies. Attendees also discussed how to extend the good work done by Maritime UK in global areas where there are different societal and legal challenges to consider, as well as improving policies on diversity and inclusion, and bullying and harassment.

The chair also set a challenge for those at the meeting, asking them what the first Pride in Maritime Day, to be held on 28 February 2021, should look like for employees. This will be discussed at the next roundtable.

The roundtables, planned to take place quarterly, will supplement the Pride in Maritime Network events attended by LGBT+ people and allies across the industry.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts sent a video message of support, saying he believed that promoting a maritime culture that encompasses diversity in its broadest sense, would reap wide ranging benefits. He noted a sector that is the lifeblood of our country should represent and welcome the people it serves.

He paid tribute to the work of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce as well as the work of women in maritime, noting that those who are part of multiple underrepresented groups may face greater barriers, both professionally and personally.

Other messaging in the session highlighted the need to grow the UK's reputation as a world leader in maritime trade. The Diversity in Maritime Taskforce works closely with the Maritime Skills Commission and Maritime UK's Careers Taskforce to ensure maritime is promoted as a sector that is open to all.

Chrissie Clarke, who leads the Diversity in Maritime programme and is secretary to the Maritime Skills Commission said: 'We are committed to promoting a fair, equal and inclusive UK maritime industry that embraces diversity and creates a supportive and open atmosphere for all to be able to achieve their potential. Diversity in Maritime and the Maritime Skills Commission work closely together to ensure the UK maritime industry has a continuous pipeline of highly skilled, diverse people and to support the Department for Transport's Maritime 2050 People Route Map.'

The meeting included representatives from the International Transport Workers' Federation, the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce, the Royal Navy, as well as the ferry, shipping, yachts and port sectors, and the leisure sailing industry.

Pride in Maritime chair Danny McGowan said: 'We've shown LGBT+ people within our industry that there is somewhere that they can come to network, that there are people out there like them, even though they are not always publicly visible, and that they have a safe space to discuss matters relevant to them in our industry.

'Through the introduction of this roundtable concept, I hope too that we can evidence that there are employers and other organisations in our industry that recognise there is work to be done to ensure that LGBT+ people know that there is a space for them in maritime and that they can enjoy long and successful careers.'

The next roundtable will be held on Monday 13 September during London International Shipping Week.