New Hercules Safety PPE was designed by textile engineers in conjunction with female seafarers and maritime safety experts.
Synergy Group, one of the world’s leading ship managers with a diverse fleet of over 540 vessels, is rolling out new tailor-made Personal Protective Equipment to its growing number of female seafarers.
Synergy, which employs over 20,000 seafarers, commissioned Hercules Safety to manufacture the new gear to the highest specifications.
The PPE was designed by textile engineers in conjunction with female seafarers and maritime safety experts to ensure the final cut maximised comfort and versatility for crew deployed in a maritime work environment where the highest standards of protection are required.
The material consists of 100% soft and durable cotton, with seams reinforced in high stress areas to ensure both safety and comfort over extended periods of time. The PPE is also highly visible with 3M reflective strips designed to maximise visibility in all maritime working environments.
The new Hercules Safety PPE is currently being distributed to all female crew as port rotations allow. The roll-out takes in on over 60 Synergy-managed vessels worldwide on which female seafarers are currently deployed.
Captain Radhika Menon, winner of the 2016 IMO award for exceptional bravery at sea and a mentor to Synergy’s young female seafarers, said: “These new coveralls are a great fit and super-functional: breathable, weatherproof, lightweight and comfortable. The fabric is suitable and protective for the bridge and for the engine room where it gets hot. It’s also resilient, just like our seafarers; a quality we are happy to celebrate as International Women’s Day draws near. This new PPE enhances safety which is always Synergy’s priority.”
Chief Officer Reshma Murkar said the commission of the new PPE sent a positive message about equality to the maritime community. “To be 100% work fit, we need the best fit, and that is what we have now,” she added. “These new PPE designs represent a clear commitment to supporting the role of women in shipping and illustrate why Synergy is making so much progress in its efforts to attract more women to our marvellous industry.”
Third Officer Noopur Mohire said that many seafarer products were designed with only men in mind, rendering them ill-fitting for women. “Synergy prioritises crew safety and this new PPE clearly offers that,” she added. “But it’s also very comfortable to wear and I’m glad female seafarers were consulted during the design process by Hercules Safety. I’ve got plenty of pockets to carry my tools, but not too many that they are a hazard. I can move around easily, and I’ve got protection when I’m on deck conducting duties.”
Synergy’s progressive policies on diversity, inclusivity and equality have enabled women employed by Synergy, as well as the company itself, to grow and prosper. Synergy’s commitment to encouraging women to become seafarers now includes its own Chakra Scholarship which enables 14-15 years old students to begin training to join the maritime industry.
Synergy’s CSR team is also active at major maritime outreach events in India, with Chennai-based SEVALAYA and a municipal school run by Muktangan in Mumbai amongst its NGO partners.
Captain HS Swaminathan, COO Crew Management of Synergy Group, commented: “We’ve been expanding the number of women in the Synergy ranks at sea and ashore for many years as part of our diversity, equality and inclusivity programmes. We want them to feel at home and safe in their place of work. Making sure they have comfortable PPE designed to the highest safety and functional standards is, of course, a foundational, but critical, part of that process.”