Deck Cadet Bhavana Rajendra Ramraje (CADD RAMRAJE) was awarded top of her class in the Tolani Maritime Institute. She was also the first woman to achieve and receive the honour in the Institute’s history. We had a conversation with her to learn about her inspiration, motivation and eventful journey in seafaring.
BW: Deck Cadet Bhavana Rajendra Ramraje (CADD RAMRAJE), congratulations on your great achievement of being awarded top of your class – “Best in Leadership and Best Overall“ amongst 80 cadets from the Tolani Maritime Institute! You joined the BW LNG fleet in 2020 and are currently sailing onboard the BW Pavilion Aranthera. Why did you choose to be a seafarer?
CADD RAMRAJE: I like to describe myself as a person who challenges herself in every possible way to bring out the best outcomes in every situation, especially new and challenging ones. Once I came across the Merchant Navy as a career option, it struck me as the best path for me to push myself and do something meaningful.
BW: How do you think your experience has differed as a woman?
CADD RAMRAJE: When I decided that I was going to pursue a career in shipping, many people raised questions about gender. They asked me how I would cope with probably being the only female onboard. Facing the pessimism was not easy, but it actually reinforced my decision as it proved that this was a worthwhile challenge, not only for myself but also for increasing gender equality in general.
BW: What can be done to make the career choice more attractive to women?
CADD RAMRAJE: There’s very few women signing up for a career as a seafarer. I find it hard to believe that it’s just because they aren’t interested. I think it’s more just a lack of knowledge and awareness of the opportunities. Promoting this career path for women through various platforms would encourage many. Numerous initiatives doing so have already encouraged many women like myself to come forward to this career. Seminars and lectures can be conducted in groups organized by school career centres. These classes would be more effective if they are done by female seafarers of different ranks.
BW: What does it mean to you to be the first woman to top the class?
CADD RAMRAJE: I was excited, as well as honoured to be the first woman to be awarded top of the class. I was proud of myself for achieving what I had dreamt of. It proved that I’m capable of accomplishing whatever tasks I’m given and achieving whatever I desire.
BW: What excites you the most about being a seafarer?
CADD RAMRAJE: To do something that I like and be on a different path that most aren’t willing to take is something that really excites me but, at the same time, it also excites me to be an inspiration and motivation to many of those who aspire to be in this field despite the gender imbalance.
BW: Tell us about some of the challenges you’ve faced?
CADD RAMRAJE: During the initial stages of joining the industry, the criticisms and the pessimistic attitudes felt overwhelming. It all became much easier than expected once I came to peace with the fact that would be there regardless of what I do, for now. My college was very supportive and helped me get to where I am now. I was not sure what being onboard would actually be like but once I stepped onboard, it felt much more comfortable than imagined. Although there were situations in the beginning where I struggled with missing my loved ones and getting acquainted with the other crewmembers. But it gets easier and more comfortable as time passes by.
BW: What are you most worried about?
CADD RAMRAJE: I’m not sure what I’m worried about most – everything has its own degree of seriousness and perspective. To choose one over another is a tough choice. But for now, I would say, it would be not being there with my family in the desperate and most needed times.
BW: Why did you choose to join BW LNG?
CADD RAMRAJE: When I researched different companies, BW struck me as the best option to continue the path I am on, as they shared the same vision I possess – to be the best on water. I want to be the best in what I do. So I asked myself, “Why not be in the company that yearns to be best as much as I do?”
BW: Our warmest congratulations to Deck Cadet Bhavana Rajendra Ramraje. We are very proud to have Deck Cadet Ramraje onboard the BW LNG team and see in her the making of a very good officer. We support her continued success in her endeavours and our joint effort in becoming #BestOnWater!