Global Maritime Forum’s Future Maritime Leaders essay competition winners present new visions for the maritime sector in 2050

Between April and May 2021, 116 essays from 22 countries were submitted to the competition. Essays on seafaring of the future, win three young professionals from the Philippines, India, and Denmark a spot in the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit.

October 11 2021

The Future Maritime Leaders essay competition aims to give the next generations of leaders a chance to raise their voice on the sustainable future of the maritime industry – and the industry a chance to listen.

The third annual Future Maritime Leaders essay competition, organized by the Global Maritime Forum, asked youth about their vision for the maritime sector in 2050 and the concrete actions that the industry needs to take within the next five years to make this a reality. Advancing environmental responsibility and digitalization, promoting inclusive growth, improving the wellbeing of seafarers, and diversifying its workforce, was the answers from116 students and young professionals spanning the globe.

Participants saw the future of seafaring and digitalization as the main area where the maritime industry can focus its attentions to prepare for the needs of the sector in 2050.

Essay winners write about the future seafarer, their wellbeing, and the need for industry reform to attract and retain talent.

Given the rapid pace of technology adoption within the maritime industry, Criselle Angela David, a 29-year-old from the Philippines and one of the competition winners, argues that we must now plan for the educational needs and recruitment of the future seafarer. These men and women will need to be not only able bodied but “able-skilled”, equipped with technologically savviness to tackle the risks and challenges of working on advanced ships. Criselle is a Corporate Strategy Manager at PTC Holdings.

Pinak Dandapat, a 26-year-old Third Navigating Officer from India, reminds us that, no matter what the future will bring, the success of the maritime industry cannot be disassociated from the millions of seafarers it employs. His winning essay argues that the transition of the industry will need to adequately address challenges associated with the shaping, acquiring, and retention of this essential workforce. This requires a re-branding of the industry to underpin the rejuvenation of the sector.

As unveiled within the COVID-19 pandemic, there are serious human rights and wellbeing challenges to working as a seafarer today, as Stephanie Larsen, a Researcher at The Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa, highlights. She proposes to address such gaps in the existing international framework in her winning contribution. The 29-year-old from Denmark suggests that targeted regulation at both international and domestic levels should focus on the security and safety of workers at sea, ensuring their basic human rights are protected and upheld.

The selection committee for the competition is comprised of senior maritime stakeholders, and a former essay competition winner.

“The quality of the people always determines the quality of the outcome. It was great to see so many entries from young seafarers. They understand the changing nature of their lives at sea because of trends like digitalization and decarbonization. They want to make a difference going forward. I was delighted to see the thoughtful engagement and ambition from this year’s entrants, says Chair of the selection committee, Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The three winners of the competition will attend the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit between 20-21 October virtually and 27-28 October in London, where they will represent the next generation of maritime talent. By bringing together top decision makers, thought leaders, and experts from across the maritime value chain, the Annual Summit represents an opportunity to rethink global seaborne trade and identify steps towards a cleaner, safer, and more resilient maritime industry.

Insight article: Future Maritime Leaders see talent of the future as essential to ensuring a digitalized, greener, and more resilient maritime industry by 2050

For further information: Interim Head of Communications, Sofie Rud at or +45 2810 2332.

Stay informed