05 March 2018

Island RoRo Freight and Passenger Ferry Shipping Line Appoints Female Captain  

Landmark in 200 Years of Maritime History

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Shipping News Feature UK – Red Funnel, the Isle of Wight based RoRo ferry operator with roots going back on the island almost two centuries, has made a landmark appointment to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018. The passenger and freight shipping line has just appointed Alice Duncan, who began her career on a cadetship programme when she was just 18, to the position of captain.

Alice, the only current female master (or should that now be mistress) in Red Funnel’s fleet seemingly got her fascination for life at sea from inspiring stories from her parents, both of whom served in the Royal and Merchant Navy, and the grandfather who taught her to sail. After graduating from the cadet programme, Alice moved to Southampton and joined Red Funnel just over five years ago as a chief officer working on Red Funnel’s ro-pax and high-speed ferries. For the last two years, she’s worked aboard Red Osprey where she gained the additional qualifications, skills and experience necessary to become a captain.

Rising to such a responsible position is no mean feat, especially for a woman in a traditionally male dominated environment and to become a fully qualified skipper, Alice had to undertake rigorous in-house training and assessment programmes to prove that she had the required skills and experience to take overall command. All very far from Alice’s early aspirations to become a vet she says she now enjoys meeting passengers and tackling new challenges whether that’s safely handling the ship in bad visibility or negotiating the wide range of commercial and leisure traffic in the Solent and Southampton Water. She observed:

“I feel so proud and privileged to have made it. It has been my dream for many years, and just shows that hard work pays off. We need more women in maritime careers and if I can help to encourage other women to embark on this career then that’s amazing.”

Red Funnel says it actively encourages diversity in its workforce and has a growing number of female commanders, first officers, deck hands and engineers but Alice is the only captain and Debbie Reed, interim HR director at Red Funnel commented:

“Having a diverse team across the organisation is vitally important and we are passionate about championing the successes of our colleagues and supporting them in an environment where they can develop. The entire team at Red Funnel is incredibly proud of Alice and we hope that her achievement and career thus far will inspire more women to follow in her footsteps.”

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