Ship manager Synergy Group introduces new personal protective equipment to its female seafarers

Synergy Group, one of the world’s leading ship managers, is introducing new bespoke Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its growing population of female seafarers.

Synergy, which manages a diverse fleet of over 540 vessels and employs over 20,000 seafarers, commissioned Hercules Safety to manufacture the new equipment to the highest specifications.

Many seafarers’ products are designed specifically for men, making them unsuitable for women, Third Officer Noopur said.

“Synergy prioritizes crew safety and this new PPE clearly delivers on that,” she noted.

“It is also very comfortable to wear and I am glad that Hercules Safety consulted with female seafarers during the design process. I have plenty of pockets to carry my tools, but not too many to pose a hazard. I can move easily and have protection when I’m on deck doing chores,” Noopur said.

Chief Officer Reshma Murkar said the commissioning of the new PSA is a positive message in terms of equality to the maritime community.

“To be 100 percent fit to work, we need the best fit, and now we have that,” she said.

“These new PSA designs represent a clear commitment to supporting the role of women in shipping and illustrate why Synergy is making up so much ground in its efforts to attract more women to our industry,” added Reshma.

The PPE was developed by textile engineers in collaboration with women seafarers and maritime safety experts to ensure the final cut maximizes comfort and versatility for crew deployed in a maritime work environment where the highest standards of protection are required.

The material is 100 percent soft and durable cotton with reinforced stitching in high wear areas to ensure both safety and comfort over extended periods of time. The PPE is also highly visible with 3M reflective strips to maximize visibility in all marine work environments.

The new Hercules Safety PPE will be distributed to all female crew members, port rotations permitting. The rollout includes over 60 Synergy-managed vessels worldwide currently serving female seafarers.

“These new overalls have a great fit and are super functional: breathable, weatherproof, lightweight and comfortable. The fabric is appropriate and protective for the bridge and engine room where it gets hot,” said Captain Radhika Menon, winner of the 2016 International Maritime Organization Award for Exceptional Courage at Sea and mentor to Synergy’s young women seafarers.

“It’s also resilient, just like our sailors; a quality we love to celebrate as International Women’s Day approaches. This new PPE enhances safety, which is always Synergy’s priority,” added Capt. Radhika.

Synergy’s diversity, inclusivity and equality policies have enabled Synergy’s women workforce and the company itself to thrive and thrive.

Synergy’s commitment to encouraging women to become seafarers now includes its own Chakra Scholarship, which enables 14-15 year old students to begin training for entry into the seafaring industry.

Synergy’s CSR team is also active in major maritime outreach events in India, including Chennai-based SEVALAYA and a Mumbai-based municipal school run by Muktangan among its NGO partners.

“As part of our diversity, equality and inclusivity programs, we have been increasing the number of women in the Synergy ranks at sea and ashore for many years,” commented Capt. HS Swaminathan, COO, Crew Management, Synergy Group.

“We want them to feel at home and safe in their workplace. Ensuring they have comfortable PPE that meets the highest safety and functional standards is of course a fundamental but crucial part of this process,” he added.

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