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Promoting diversity and inclusion in the maritime industry

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A few months into her new role as Harbour Master at Port of Newcastle, Jeanine Drummond reflects on 20 years in the maritime industry, diversity and inclusion, and what she hopes her legacy will be.

AMC alumna Jeanine Drummond didn’t set out to be a seafarer, let alone lead a team at one of Australia’s major ports. She’d ditched her PE teaching degree, went with her father one day to visit his mate onboard a ship and before she knew it, the Sydneysider had fallen in love with the sea. That was 23 years ago.

Ms Drummond’s first port of call was the Australian Maritime College, where she started a traineeship with ASP Shipping studying a seafarer’s deck officers course.

I first went to sea in the second half of my first year at AMC. We left Sydney and travelled the world on the container ship Australian Venture, so instantly I was travelling and experiencing everything the maritime industry has to offer,” she said.

After completing her cadetship, she secured a role with BP on international crude oil tankers as a 3rd mate, then a 2nd mate, progressing through the ranks to work for Teekay Shipping in a Master’s role.

It was during her time with Teekay that she grabbed the opportunity to do shore-based work while on leave, while she also worked internationally in Singapore and Vancouver.

The lure to work on a new-build FPSO (floating production storage and offloading facility) – Woodside’s Enfield project on the north-west shelf – took Ms Drummond to Western Australia in a master and marine technician role.

From there, she became a master on tugs at Gladstone Port before a management opportunity as a marine adviser at Caltex proved an opportunity too good to refuse.

Three years later, Ms Drummond found her seafaring and shore-based experience was valued in her home port of Sydney, where she moved to Manager, Port Services and six months later, Deputy Harbour Master.

In August 2018, she transferred to Newcastle to become Harbour Master. The mother-of-two says Newcastle is not only a great place to raise a young family, but her job is providing some exciting challenges.

“There are significant projects in the pipeline, including the introduction of escort towage capabilities for large tankers. To safely move these tankers into our port, we need specially designed tugs,” she said.

Ms Drummond’s relationship with AMC has been continuous throughout her career, gaining qualifications as a Master Mariner and achieving a Bachelor of Business in Maritime Management.

The Port Authority of New South Wales also sends staff to AMC for ship handling training and project development work.

“Each time I visit, I notice the increase in the standard of simulator training and particularly the integration of those simulators,” she said.

Vice-chair of the International Association of Ports and Harbour’s Women’s Forum, a member of the Women in Shipping and Transport Association and the Nautical Institute, Ms Drummond has become a strong advocate for diversity in the maritime industry.

“We haven’t made significant inroads in the 20 years I’ve been in the industry. With the exception of some niche sectors and cruise ships, only about 2 per cent of the operations sector in the maritime industry is female,” she said.

Having an inclusive workforce and diverse ways of thinking will help the maritime industry remain world leading and competitive in safe and efficient operations.”

Ms Drummond believes the industry needs to do more to raise awareness of the roles and opportunities available through more effective recruitment and advertising strategies.

“The maritime industry is invisible. Schools don’t talk about it. Unless you know someone who works in the industry, you won’t know what roles exist. We have to be bolder,” she said.

There is a strong professional and indeed personal desire to inspire the next generation of seafarers, create change and continue conversations that challenge the status quo.

“I want my daughter, my son, to know anything is possible and opportunities are out there.”

Published on: 17 Jan 2019