Nautilus has welcomed the launch of a network to support UK maritime professionals from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds (BAME) which will share best practice on overcoming barriers and make the UK maritime industry more reflective of the diversity of the UK.
Nautilus assistant general secretary Olu Tunde and head of strategy Debbie Cavaldoro attended the virtual launch by Maritime UK on 30 July along with over 50 other maritime industry professionals and experts from the BAME business community.
The new BAME network is part of a number of networks recently launched by Maritime UK to work towards the government's Maritime 2050 commitments for a more diverse UK maritime industry,
The, as yet unnamed network, will provide a safe-space community where Black, Asian and minority ethnic maritime professionals from across the maritime sector can share best practice and discuss barriers to change.
Mr Tunde took part in the video conference, recounting his personal experiences of being a Black man working in UK maritime.
'At UK maritime events there can be a few hundred maritime professionals in attendance, and I will be one of only two or three Black people in the room,' he explained. 'This does make you feel very self-conscious. It would also give me reservations about my three boys following me in this sector.
'What is needed is education to change the mindset of the maritime industry. The UK is the head of the Commonwealth and that has brought a lot of diversity to the UK. However, that diversity does not seem to have reached the UK maritime industry yet. We need to educate people to understand that and change it.'
Mr Tunde said the meeting was very interesting and encouraging and he called on everyone involved to become an 'agent of change'.
The new network is part of Maritime UK's Diversity in Maritime Taskforce and will sit alongside the Women in Maritime Network, Pride in Maritime and Mental Health Network
The networks bring together the five sectors of maritime: shipping, ports, leisure marine, engineering and professional services to collaborate to break down barriers to diversity.
In welcoming the BAME network, co-chairs of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce Ms Cavaldoro and Sue Terpilowski said: 'Following on from the successful launches of the Mental Health and Pride networks we are delighted to see the activation of the BAME network. To ensure the UK maritime sector has a diverse pipeline of talented people, we must level the playing field for all and reflect the diversity we have across the country.
'Now is the time for the maritime sector to come together to ensure every voice is heard.'
The BAME network has been set up in response to the Government's Maritime 2050 strategy, which states that the 'maritime workforce of the future will be diverse. New roles, new technologies and a changing image of the sector will draw in people from all backgrounds across the entire UK.'
A Maritime Skills Commission has also been established which is gathering diversity data for the sector, including BAME representation. Nautilus is represented on the Commission by general secretary Mark Dickinson.