WISTA International Ambassador

Karin Orsel, CEO, MF Shipping Group and Co-Chairman, Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners

Karin Orsel (47) has been working in the Maritime Industry since the age of 18. At 23, Karin was one of the founders of MF Shipping Group, an organization she has led as CEO and majority shareholder since 2001.

MF Shipping Group partly owns and manages a fleet of 55 vessels. Oil product/ chemical tankers, multipurpose vessels and cement carriers. MF Shipping Group employs approximately 900 seafarers and 53 office staff employees.

In 2009, she won the prestige Dutch ‘Female Entrepreneurship Award of the Year’ for her personal determination and drive in managing her business successfully, being well focused, ambitious and capable of achieving anything she sets her mind to.

In June 2016, MF Shipping Group was a joint winner of ISWAN’s International Seafarers’ Welfare Award: Shipping Company of the year 2016

In June 2017, Karin Orsel received an Honorary Doctor of Public Administration Degree of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in recognition of her significant contributions to and impact on the maritime industry through her leadership, motivation and commitment to excellence as well as her active participation in numerous national and international organizations.

Besides running her own company Karin is an active board member of a number of national and international associations- and organizations, here is a small selection, in random order:

  • Vice Chairman and board member of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
  • Co-chairman of the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR)
  • Board of Governors member of the World Maritime University (WMU)
  • Trustee of the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)
  • Member Supervisory Board Groningen Airport Eelde
  • Chairman MFG Seafarers fund
  • Immediately Past President of WISTA International
  • Ambassador of ’We keep on Growing” (project with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands)
  • An investor in several, amongst others, international maritime related projects

We have asked Karin a few questions about being an Ambassador for WISTA;

What motivated you to accept the nomination to be a WISTA Ambassador?

As immediate past president of WISTA International it is not given to be nominated as WISTA Ambassador, to me is it a sign of appreciation by the members and in the role of WISTA Ambassador I hope to be able to support the association and continue to pave the way for both future members as well as current members.

What role do you think an organization like WISTA plays in today’s world?

WISTA is the association to turn to when it comes to representing Women in the Maritime Industry. WISTA International has a membership of around 3000 individual members in more than 40 countries worldwide and should be the voice of Women in our Industry.

With a fast changing environment and changing demands/expectations from our society, what would be a topic/ theme you would advise WISTA should focus on? (both short term & long term views)

Within our industry, the number of women, both in all land-based jobs as well as in jobs on board of vessels, is too small and way below average compared to other industries. In addition to the previous line, our industry is quite conservative with a top-down approach which at times is quite a contradiction airy in a fast-changing and continuously changing environment. There is a lot to achieve when it comes to increasing the number of Women our industry, for instance by actively being involved in policy, however changing an industry and its current values is a long-term process and let’s not forget that change starts with ourselves and our own companies. In order to be the voice of Women in the Maritime Industry, it also means we need to be visible and have an opinion to share. That can be challenging for an association with a global membership, on the other hand, I think overall we all share the same core values and want to achieve the same thus that should not be stopping us.

How do you feel you can collaborate and support the role you see for WISTA?

I am active in various associations and organisations, amongst others the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Seafarers Welfare Network Assistance (ISWAN), Intertanko and InterManager. Over the past years, my personal network has assisted WISTA International and its members and it is my intention to continue doing this.


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WISTA has 3,800+ members and 54 National WISTA Associations (NWAs).


WISTA has 3,800+ members and 54 National WISTA Associations (NWAs).

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