An open letter to our members, industry supporters and organisational partners and sponsors

Dear all,

YoungShip’s aim is to bridge the generational gap between professionals in the shipping industry, we collaborate with companies and a host of experienced seniors to promote their work and let our members network and grow professionally. We promote young talent and speak out against any negative systemic structures that predominantly target more junior staff. 

We all know the #MeToo campaign by now and its ramifications in terms of tattered reputations and some justice served to those who have come forward after years of silence.   

The #MeToo movement has spread to include a variety of stories, it originated in the workplace as a resistance towards the abuse of power and the various forms of sexual harassment that often targets women (but also men). The core of the campaign is the abuse of economic and physical power over a subordinate – an issue with hidden ramifications both when it comes to diversity and competitiveness but ultimately also the profitability and attractiveness of companies and industries as such.

Whilst few #MeToo stories have become public in our industry, we have all heard stories, and seen tendencies - if not necessarily been affected personally. And for the last month we have all been discussing it. We do not see this as a an issue purely relating to women – it is about ensuring that all persons – not matter gender, sexual preference or lack of status, feel fairly treated and safe from abuse of power and often unfair retaliation in their work environment.

Yes, our industry is overwhelmingly male dominated and at times hierarchic, but more so it is extremely personal, social and driven by the quality of client relationships. We all daily operate within shifting power mechanisms with unwritten rules, and we rarely give it a second thought. The backside of this coin, is that such an environment by definition is a perfect climate to operate in for those who have no qualms of abusing it.

If you are one of those who are ”confused” by this, and who talk about the grey zone that is difficult to navigate, here is a simple advice: Act the way your parents raised you. Treat people with respect, and be particular about being fair and professional towards people you have financial, career-wise or physical power over.

In 2017, the Board of YoungShip Oslo and the organisation’s General Assembly amended its bylaws to include ”equal opportunities”. The organisation also supported ”HunSpanderer” (It's Her Treat) when this campaign launched in 2015 and started the 10WomenToWatch list for Nor-Shipping 2017 focussing on key women in the maritime industry. These are initiatives that have been planned and supported by male and female members together. We are proud to be involved in an organisation where the male members working in the industry often are those who push the organisation to be vocal about these important matters – our members understand that equality and diversity is key to the future competitiveness and profitability of our industry.

We urge all our members who see such behaviour in their working life to stand up for each other. We are the future of our industry, we will protect our working environments, and continue to set an example for the generations that come after us. We  will continue to promote our industry to the young generation, and when doing so, we want to be positive that all industry players work actively towards making this industry fair, diverse and safe.  

We support the recent calls from WISTA (Women's International Shipping & Trading Association) and Birgit Liodden (Director of Nor-Shipping) on this matter and repeat that we have a zero tolerance of such behaviour.


Emilie Christiansen, Chairman of YoungShip Oslo / President of YoungShip International

Marthe Lamp Sandvik, Head of Young@NorShipping 2017

The Board of YoungShip Oslo