MOL’s first female captain takes command of car carrier

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL)’s Naomi Matsushita has been appointed captain of the car carrier Beluga Ace, effective June 6. This is the first time for a Japanese oceangoing shipping company that a female seafarer actually serves as a captain.

Since joining MOL, Captain Matsushita has worked both onboard and onshore. She has gained onboard experience mainly on car carriers and containerships. Onshore, she has been active in a wide range of fields such as support for the business divisions and ship management, by drawing on the experience and skills she has gained through working onboard.

Several other female seafarers served alongside Matsushita onboard car carrier Beluga Ace
Left to right: 3rd Engineer Yasutome, Captain Matsushita, 3rd Officer Miyake.

On why she chose to be a seafarer, Matsushita said: “When I was a junior high school student, I had the opportunity to board a cruise ship for exchange activities, and I admired the seafarers who were working there.

“I thought that it would be wonderful to sail as a job and live on board, go around the world. And I imagined my world will expand.”

Captain Matsushita added: “The best part of being a seafarer is being able to sail the open sea and call various ports. Being surrounded by the sea and the sky, you can experience the beauty but also the harshness of nature.

“In addition, the job of a seafarer is not only operating the ship but there are also inspection and maintenance work, cargo management, etc.

“The attraction is that you can share the sense of accomplishment you feel when your cargo is delivered safely with your crews who share the same purpose.

Captain Matsushita also encouraged students who want to become seafarers.

“The reason I’m here as a captain now is because I was taught and trained by my seniors. There are fields in seafaring where both men and women can flourish. Please keep on studying, challenge with enthusiasm and move forward every day.”

MOL Group positions promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), including the promotion of more active roles for women, as a driving force for new growth.

Top photo taken from YouTube interview of Captain Naomi Matsushita.

All photos credit: MOL

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