Wilhelmsen insights

Finally - a first for us

Captain Lee Eun Ran is not the world’s first female captain but a significant milestone given that shipping is still a male dominated industry and has been the same for decades.

Wilhelmsen insights |

Today, Wilhelmsen Ship Management has conferred their first female Korean captain, Captain Lee Eun Ran. It was a long journey and steep learning curve for us to reach this point because shipping is still a male dominated industry and has been the same for decades.

MicrosoftTeams-image (97).pngScott Ritchie, General Manager of Wilhelmsen Ship Management Korea presenting the Certificate of Appointment to Capt Lee Eun Ran

Our initiatives to introduce diversity onboard vessels started since 2010. When we started this journey, we wanted to build a strong foundation that would provide a sustainable and strong pipeline of female seafarers. It took us some time as we strove to establish the best practices and standardization to change something that has been the same for decades. 

“Shipping has been a male dominated industry and being a seafarer once myself, I fully understand the challenges. Acknowledging that it is not easy is the first step and working out ways to create an environment where female cadet and officers can thrive is crucial” says Scott Ritchie, General Manager of Wilhelmsen Ship Management Korea.

“This is our first female captain and certainly not the last. We are confident that our framework and support system will see more Korean female officers advancing to take on senior positions. One key aspect we are working on is to create opportunities for female seafarers to maintain their jobs while raising children” says Lee Dae Woo, Deputy General Manager of Wilhelmsen Ship Management Korea.

Due to the robust education system in Korea and cohesiveness of maritime universities working together with ship owners and managers, Korea is a suitable location for Wilhelmsen to grow its female seafarers to meet the global seafarer supply crunch.

Young officers.jpg Picture5.jpg
Meet the future officers. These are our latest addition to our cadetship program

“As one of the few female captains in Korea and the first in Wilhelmsen, I hope my achievement can inspire more female seafarers to break the glass ceiling and younger generations to consider seafaring as a career.” says Captain Lee Eun Ran.

Captain Lee added “I am very appreciative that the company has recognized my capability and skillset for this promotion. The structured career progression plan has given me the opportunity to constantly upgrade my skills to meet the regulation and industry requirements.” Capt Lee started in Wilhelmsen Ship Management since her cadetship in 2010.

Capt Lee.jpgCaptain Lee Eun Ran

As maritime moves towards a net zero ambition and a workplace that is diverse, equity and inclusive, Wilhelmsen Ship Management is investing on training in technical and soft skills of our seafarers to cope and adapt with the changes. Training is essential to propel our seafarers towards a common goal and is key success towards change.

“There is not much context needed today to see that we are on the cusp of a new shipping era. Our focus is to ensure that we continue to develop competent crew that meets the requirements.’ Says Carl Schou, CEO and President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

At Wilhelmsen, we strive to create a diverse, equity and inclusive workplace as we believe this is a conducive environment where we can nurture competence. Competence is something that can be nurtured and developed if one is willing to embrace it and this attitude of learning is what makes our seafarers different!