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Acknowledge colonial past in maritime for a diverse future

14 October 2020

The maritime industry should do more to acknowledge its colonial past in order to become more diverse in the future, an Ethnicity in Maritime Network webinar has heard.

Royal Navy race and ethnicity champion Lieutenant Eugene Ligale, said the 'country in general has to do something about its colonial past', but maritime particularly needed to acknowledge its 'pivotal role in the immense wealth of the UK brought about by slavery. If people are willing to accept their history then perhaps this industry [will not seem] not so closed off.

'At sea we depend on each other 100%, it becomes your home as well as your livelihood for three months or more,' he said.

'Imagine being put in a room full of strangers, particularly now in lockdown, for three months, if you can't bring your persona to a workplace, it is very difficult. It is vital we feel we can be ourselves at work.'

The event was part of a week of webinars being held by Maritime UK.

Participants at the webinar agreed there is a need for more long term planning to embed diversity in organisations.

Nautilus assistant general secretary Olu Tunde who, attended the webinar, said: 'To effect change on diversity, it must be both top down and bottom up. Also, any diversity initiative must be perpetual not a project of individual or group of individuals. It must be in the DNA of the organisation.'

The webinar panellists included; Cecilia Harvey, chair of the Ethnicity in Maritime Network and Louisa Joseph, founder of BAME to Boardroom.

The next meeting of the Ethnicity network will be held on 2 December 2020.


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