8 June 2020
The Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group joins the Cluster Maritime Français (CMF) and the Association Elles Bougent to celebrate women on the occasion of this World Ocean Day 2020 and through the operation "Les ELLES de l'Océan".
This special operation aims to promote the place of women in the maritime sector and to make young women aware of career opportunities related to the sea.
Discover now the interview by our seafarer colleague Elise Vandermeersch.
1 / Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Elise Vandermeersch and I am a Lieutenant / DPO at Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.
2 / Where does your interest in navigation/the sea/the merchant navy come from? Why did you make this career choice ?
Growing up, I often went to the seaside with my family all over Europe. As a teenager, my father let me drive the motorboat of a family friend in the Canary Islands. It is where I uncovered my love for the sea and my vocation was born. At eighteen, I had to make a career choice and quite naturally turned to the sea and a diversified and stimulating career. After my studies, I could not wait to take to the sea and my motivation and self-development have only strengthened over the years.
3 / What did you study ? What is your academic background?
After 4 years of studies, I obtained a Masters in Nautical Sciences from the Antwerp Maritime Academy in Belgium.
4 / What do you like most about your job?
The combination of teamwork and multiple responsibilities.
This job is very enriching because the different types of ships we deal with always ask for new and various skills.
5 / What do you think of the representation of women in the maritime sector?
Women are still a minority in the merchant navy, which is too bad! Maritime professions should be promoted more actively in schools so that girls can consider the maritime sector as a career path. Not only for studies but also for sailing, going to sea. It would be great if more young women had an idea of the rich experience a maritime life made of travels, stopovers, storms and adventures can offer - an experience that some still think is reserved for men. It is time these careers were more considered by women.
6 / What advice would you give to young women to make them aware of the career options offered by this sector?
You have great possibilities and prospects while sailing, but you need persistence and above all mental strength. Working conditions can be more demanding than on land. I advise you to be yourself on board while maintaining a certain professional distance to begin with - but most of all, observe the relationships existing between the various crew members. The first boardings will be challenging because there is a lot to learn, but over time, the results of these intense periods will bring you great self-confidence. I can assure you that your self-development as a female seafarer will be more intense than for male colleagues.
Thank you Elise for this interview!