Each year on 7 June, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry unites to celebrate LPG and raise global awareness of an exceptional energy. Organised by the World LPG Association, this year showcases and celebrates the people behind LPG. Today we commemorate #LPGDay with a video of our seafarers at sea, as well as shine the spotlight on two female colleagues to encourage more women to join our industry.
At BW LPG India, we value diversity in all its forms and are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. However, gender representation is a particular element of diversity that we are providing added support and strategic emphasis. The shipping industry has a disproportionate number of men, and it is important that we encourage more women to join the business. BW LPG India is committed to fostering a safe and equal workplace for women at sea and on shore, and to support a barrier-free working environment.
To this end, we set aside resources to sponsor the education for female cadets. We provide holistic support structures for aspiring young female cadets which include a bond-free scholarship covering all tuition fees in maritime college, and guaranteed placement on ships with Synergy Ship Management. Onboard, cadets are assured of a supportive work environment where Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging are emphasized. Read about Ms Jayshanti J (Assistant Manager, Commercial and Operations), and Ms Manmeet Kaur (Senior Executive, Commercial Operations and former Second Officer)’s experience in the interview below.
BW LPG India (BW): What is your current designation at BW LPG India?
Jayshanti J (JJ): I am Assistant Manager, Commercial & Operations.
BW: What do you do on a daily basis?
I handle voyage management for time charter and spot charter fixtures of assigned vessels. I also manage vendors and vendor appointment including Agents, Surveyor, STS operation, Armed guards, and Bunkers. In addition, I manage claim preparation and remittance follow-ups with Charterers; monitor performance of my assigned vessels and work with crew onboard for issues related to performance and operations.
BW: How did you come to have a career in shipping?
I entered the shipping industry unexpectedly, but I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this industry.
BW: How has the experience been so far – what have been the positive memories? What have been some of the challenges and how did you overcome them?
JJ: It has been a good experience so far. Positive memories are my team’s support, coordination, communication and guidance. It is the team which ensures that operations are smooth on a daily basis. Learning new things is always a challenge and I overcome that with sincerity, and putting in effort and hard work.
BW: How do you juggle your roles as a mother and a commercial operator?
JJ: I think it is about having a great attitude, self-love, and ensuring one plans ahead. Things oftentimes become simpler, and more straightforward and the path ahead is visible. I am the type of mother who believes that nothing is tough with the right and positive attitude – you may be exhausted, tense, or face difficulties; but with the right spirit, all obstacles are surmountable. I believe that every woman is strong and capable of handling any situation.
BW: What words of encouragement will you share with younger women who are thinking about a career in shipping?
JJ: We all have our strengths and weaknesses. One of the secrets that successful women rely on all the time is playing to their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. Focus on the skills that make you the star that you are.
BW LPG India (BW): What is your current designation at BW LPG India?
Manmeet Kaur (MK): I am Senior Executive – Commercial operations.
BW: What do you do on a typical day in office?
MK: I handle voyage management for time charter and spot charter fixtures of assigned vessels. I also manage vendors and vendor appointment including Agents, Surveyor, STS operation, Armed guards, and Bunkers. In addition, I look at hire, freight, demurrage claim preparation and remittance follow-ups with Charterers; monitor performance of my assigned vessels and work with crew onboard for issues related to performance and operations.
BW: Why did you decide to be a seafarer?
MK: I was studying engineering in school. However, I was always fascinated by uniforms and adventure as I was a daughter of a Defence personnel. I decided to quit engineering and take the entrance exams at the Indian Maritime University instead. I got into the IMU and have never looked back since. It is a great feeling when you follow your heart and make your family proud.
BW: How was it like to be a young female seafarer out at sea?
MK: I was blessed that I always got to sail with good people who were always supportive and encouraging. Working onboard is challenging, but there is also so much you can learn. I used to feel left out as I was the only female onboard, and it took time for my team members to get used to having me around. I focused on proving my worth, and showing interest in everything I did. On the whole, my seafaring experience was pleasant, and I learnt a lot from my seniors.
BW: What was your journey like, progressing from a cadet to Second Officer, and then coming ashore?
MK: Of course, the initial days were difficult and challenging, physically and mentally. Everything was new, and the biggest challenge was being away from my loved ones. But I constantly reminded myself that I must work hard, learn and complete my sea time so that I can take my exams. This thought has kept me going.
I recall with gratitude that on my final month as a cadet, Master onboard allowed me to conduct a navigational watch under his supervision and guidance. I remain thankful to him as it helped me tremendously. When I joined as Third officer for the first time, I was confident enough to take up my duties and carry out independent navigational watches.
I was promoted to second officer on my second ship, again with thanks to the Master who believed in my capabilities and taught me so much. He never treated me differently from my male colleagues and allowed me to attempt all tasks, no matter how challenging.
Also, the opportunity to travel the world was a great advantage. I decided to come ashore as I wanted to utilise my experience and knowledge from my seagoing career in new ways and I am grateful for this opportunity to work at BW LPG India. I would like to express my gratitude towards my managers for their guidance and support at all levels and for the positive work environment.
BW: Which qualities did you have that helped you succeed in a male-dominated world?
MK: I believe that with sincerity and honestly, you will be able to overcome any difficulties. It takes time to adapt and learn but once you know your job well, you don’t have to prove your worth every time. I always made sure I carried out my responsibilities and duties as expected from an officer, irrespective of gender. I also never hesitated to speak up and make a stand when required.
BW: What words of encouragement will you share with younger women thinking about a career in shipping, both on shore and at sea?
MK: There is tremendous scope in shipping and endless opportunities. My advice is to stay positive and strong mentally and emotionally as to succeed in any career, one needs commitment, dedication and a lot of hard work.
Thanking the People Behind LPG
BW LPG India is proud of the men and women working hard on shore and sea, to deliver LPG safely and cost-effectively to our customers. We thank them for their loyalty and commitment to the company, and look forward to continued success as one team.