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Press Release

Seafaring champion, Natalie Shaw, awarded MBE in Queen’s New Year’s Honours list

“On behalf of the Board of the ICS I would like to warmly congratulate our Director of Employment Affairs, Natalie Shaw, on being awarded the MBE in The Queen’s 2022 New Year’s Honours List ‘For services to seafarers during the Covid-19 Pandemic’. Natalie’s tireless efforts in championing the welfare of our seafarers over many years is well known, and this richly deserved award reflects these efforts. Well done Natalie – we are proud of you!” said Esben Poulsson, Chairman of International Chamber of Shipping. 

Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment Affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has been made an MBE in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2022. One of the most respected members of the maritime sector, Shaw has been recognised for her monumental efforts in driving the global repatriation of stranded seafarers and ensuring that shipping could continue to operate safely during the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic, some 400,000 seafarers were stranded around the world, including more than 2,000 British nationals. Unable to return home to families and friends, many were forced to remain on ships far beyond contracted periods (in some cases, up to two years).

As Director of Employment Affairs at the world’s pre-eminent shipping organisation, Shaw acted as the lynchpin for diplomatic, logistical and operational efforts to navigate the wave of Covid restrictions preventing the free movement of seafarers. As a result of her work, hundreds of thousands of men and women have been able to return safely home, often against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive Officer of The Seafarers’ Charity said: “The Seafarers’ Charity has benefited from Natalie’s incredible knowledge and experience of the maritime sector, and we are delighted that her compassion and work to improve the welfare and safety of Seafarers has been recognised.”

Shaw must also be commended for her work in supporting the global supply chain. Around 90% of global trade is carried by ship, and Britain, as an island nation, is reliant on the safe and efficient passage of trade to ensure that vital medicines, foods and fuels arrive at its shore. Shaw’s contribution towards tackling the ‘crew change crisis’ that engulfed the shipping sector has undoubtably been a driving force behind the continuation of global trade.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping added: “Natalie has worked tirelessly over the past two years to ensure that seafarers are not put to the back of the queue. This recognition of her contribution to the maritime sector, during the pandemic and over many years, is so well deserved.”

Shaw’s award is the cumulation of nearly two decades of dedicated service within global shipping. Consistently championing the welfare of the world’s 1.8million seafarers. Highlights include her instrumental role in the development and adoption of the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention in 2006. As one of the world’s truly global employment conventions, it gives seafarers right to decent pay and working conditions.

In addition to her work during the pandemic, Shaw  has acted as the shipowner coordinator on issues such as the ILO Minimum Wage, Crew Claims and Abandonment, Fair Treatment, Piracy, and Seafarer medical issues. She is a Director for The Seafarers’ Charity, and previously the Sailors Society. She is also involved with the International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network. Shaw also served on the Board of Deputies for British Jews for 9 years.

Natalie Shaw, on receiving her MBE, said:

“I am delighted to receive this MBE, I share this recognition with – many colleagues from across the industry who have worked with me over the last two years.  As a global sector, the support of  the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organizations to ensure that seafarers needs were placed on the international agenda, has been integral . I also pay tribute to those involved in practical support of seafarers over the last two years, including the Unions, Seafarers Missions, Shipping Companies, and members of the International Maritime Health Association.”

New Year’s Honours

The New Year Honours are a part of the British honours system, presented annually by or in the name of the reigning monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The honours mark the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

1 January 2022