Positive wellbeing for a rewarding seafaring career



(South Africa Standard Time)

08:30 – 08:40
Welcome address

Johan Smith, Head of Wellness, Sailors’ Society

08:40 – 09:00
Inaugural address

Capt.Thokozani, Mthethwa Deputy Harbour Master, Port of Durban

09:00 – 09:10
Have your say
- Interactive session

09:10 – 09:30
Trends shaping career opportunities for young shipping professionals

Captain Kuba Szymanski
Secretary General of the International Ship Managers' Association

09:30 – 09:40
Have your say
- Interactive session

09:40 – 10:05
Introduction to Sailors’ Society – Insights from our 2022 Wellness at Sea Cadet Report

Sara Baade, CEO, Sailors’ Society

10:05 – 10:25
Psychological Safety: A critical element for seafarer's mental health and Wellness
Dr. Deepti Mankad Coordinator, Wellness at Sea

10:25 – 10:50
Voice of the cadet

Panel Discussion 1: Your questions about life at sea
Students’ perspective – the challenges and solutions
A Q&A with Dr. Deepti Mankad

10:50 – 11:00
Have your say - Interactive session

11:00 – 11:30
Brunch break

11:30 – 11:50
P&I: There for you

Robert Robinson, Director (Claims), NorthStandard P&I

11:50 – 12:10
Preparing the African seafarer for employment on international shipping lines: Digital technology adoption
Theresa Williams: Transnet Academy, Faculty Head: Port Terminals & Marine

12:50 – 13:00
Have your say - Interactive session

Diversity (sponsored by Seaspan)

13:00 – 13:25
Students’ perspective – Diversity and woman in maritime: the challenges and solutions
Panel discussion by student representatives from five maritime schools Namrata Nadkarni, CEO, Intent Communications. Chair of the Fuels Working Group at the World Ports Climate Action Programme (WPCAP)

13:25 – 13:40
A female perspective from a practising seafarer
Meghana Menon Trainee Marine Engineer, Seaspan

13:40 – 13:55
Concluding remarks and evaluation

13.55 – 14:20
Break out

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Our Conference Speakers

Keynote speaker

Capt.Thokozani Mthethwa Deputy Harbour Master, Port of Durban

Thokozani's journey with Transnet National Port Authority began when she received a Transnet Bursary to pursue Maritime Studies at the Durban University of Technology in 2004. She has since been in the port system and now works as a Deputy Harbour Master at the busiest Port in the country, the Port of Durban.

Captain  Kuba Szymanski Secretary General of the International Ship Managers' Association

Captain Kuba Szymanski has a well-deserved reputation for advocating for seafarers – often bringing his personal experience as a merchant navy officer into play. He started his sea career in 1985, graduating from the Maritime University of Szczecin with a master’s degree.

He began in the role of deck officer with Dorchester Maritime Limited Isle of Man, where he sailed gas/chemical/product tankers, reaching his first command as a Master in 1999. He was also a tutor at the International Business School, Isle of Man, UK, where he taught management of change, risk management, organisational waste, critical equipment and time and information management.

Through his role with InterManager, Captain Szymanski has participated in many industry-wide projects, He currently chairs the Human Element Industry Group (HEIG) Enclosed Space Committee. In 2011 he joined the TK Foundation, which supports non-profit maritime and youth programs, and he currently chairs its HR and Remuneration Committee, in 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Solent Southampton University in recognition of his contribution to the maritime industry.

In his leisure time, Captain Szymanski is a keen yachtsman and races competitively around Europe, mostly double or single-handed.

Sara Baade CEO, Sailors’ Society

Sara joined Sailors’ Society as CEO in September 2020, leading the global maritime charity’s work reaching out to 200,000 seafarers, their families and communities in need every year.

Sailors’ Society’s pioneering mental health and wellbeing training support programme has benefitted more than 34,000 seafarers to date and its ground-breaking Wellness at Sea Maritime Schools’ Conferences are empowering cadets with awareness and skills that will serve them throughout their seafaring careers.

Sara is also chair of The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and has extensive experience in leading an international welfare charity from her previous role as CEO of The Army Families Federation. Her career includes working as a senior civil servant for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, a directorship at the charity UK Skills and substantial experience in investment banking.

Sara lives in Berkshire in the UK with her 12-year-old twins.

Johan Smith Head of Wellness, Sailors’ Society

Johan joined international maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society in 2014 to develop and lead its Wellness at Sea programme, a pioneering initiative which empowers seafarers to prepare and keep physically and mentally fit for life at sea.

The Wellness at Sea programme has since grown to become one of the leading wellness interventions for the shipping industry, benefitting thousands of seafarers every year and winning a Safety at Sea award for Best Crew Welfare Programme and a Seatrade Award for Investment in People.

Johan has worked with seafarers for many years, previously serving as a port chaplain for six years in Cape Town, South Africa. It was during this time that he became aware of the challenges many seafarers face as a result of life at sea and in 2011 started developing his work on a wellness programme to meet their needs. Johan studied theology and is also a qualified social worker.

Robert Robinson, Director (Claims), NorthStandard P&I

A former Engine Cadet with Maersk, Rob has worked for NorthStandard since 2010. Rob is a Director for P&I claims within the Americas, UK and Ireland sector and specialises in people related claims.

Theresa Williams
Transnet Academy, Faculty Head: Port Terminals & Marine

Theresa was Africa's first female pilot and has been active in the Maritime industry for almost 30 years in various operational and leadership roles. She is also a life coach.

Since 01 September 2022, she has been the Transnet Academy Faculty Head for Port Terminals and Marine. The primary function of the faculty is to provide training solutions to contribute towards operational excellence whilst benefitting both internal and external clients.

Until August 2022, she served as Head of Department for the Maritime Studies and Survival Centre units at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. Preparing graduates for the workplace remained at centre stage.

She has participated in strategic initiatives such as Operation Phakisa, the Maritime Skills Development Plan, the Integrated Africa Maritime 2050 Plan, the South African Maritime Transport Policy and others.

Theresa says: As a citizen of the African continent I consider it a duty to assist in building the continent by being actively involved in the growth of the human capital within the maritime domain

Dr. Deepti Mankad Coordinator, Wellness at Sea

Dr Deepti Mankad is an excellent communicator and well-informed expert in her field of professional development. She is the founder of Mindspeak and a professional development trainer and consultant and the Regional Head [India] for Sailors’ Society for the Wellness at Sea programme for seafarers.

Belonging to a seafarer’s family, she has been proving maritime training, coaching and assessment for seafarers and their companies for over 12 years now, and conducting sessions on mental health and wellbeing empowering seafarers to handle emotional disturbances. She also conducts psychological first aid training for seafarers with the objective to help troubled seafarers onboard and provides counselling services for seafarers and their families.

Deepti has a doctorate in Multiple Intelligence and is a certified Maritime Crew Resource Management [MCRM] trainer and certified as a psychometric assessor by Thomas International Management Systems Ltd.

She has received various awards including the 2022 Maritime Wellness Coach & Trainer of the Year by International Brilliance Awards (IBA), Maritime Wellness Coach & Trainer of the Year by National Education Brilliance Awards (NEBA) 2022 and The Real Super Woman Award 2022 by Forever Star India.

Namrata Nadkarni, CEO, Intent Communications. Chair of the Fuels Working Group at the World Ports Climate Action Programme (WPCAP).

Namrata Nadkarni is the CEO and Founder of Intent Communications.

With nearly two decades of work in the maritime industry under her belt, Namrata has worked on brands including the monthly newsletter for the International Chamber of Shipping, Safety at Sea, Fairplay, The Marine Professional, Lloyd’s List, Seatrade magazine, Ports and Harbors, Marine Engineer’s Review and many more.

She is currently the Non-Executive Director of Shoreham Port and chairs the Alternative Fuels Working Group for the World Ports Climate Action Programme (WPCAP).

Meghana Menon is currently sailing as a Trainee Marine Engineer with Seaspan Ship Management.

Her motivation to go to sea came quite late when she had completed a degree and was already doing a corporate job. Both her parents were engineers and it invoked in her a curiosity in her to understand details of how things around her worked.

It is this curiosity that led her to pursue mechanical engineering and fast forward to today - to understand how intricate machinery and complex systems work in unison to run ships.

She says; “Although I have just started my career as a seafarer, my experience so far has been everything that I expected it to be and more. I really enjoy my job, big or small and even though I just signed off, I am eager and excited to join my next vessel and get back to work.

Despite having a busy schedule and hectic work routines, there’s something about the carefree blue ocean and the endless warm horizon that offers you peace after a tiring day of work, which is quite addictive.”


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