Eleven Years of YoungShip Sri Lanka: Setting Sail for Another Impactful Year

YoungShip Sri Lanka, part of a global movement established to empower young professionals in the maritime industry, marked its 11th anniversary with its Annual General Meeting held on the 24th of January 2024 at the Havelock City Clubhouse. The event saw the appointment of a new Executive Committee under the continued leadership of Ms. Maleena Awn, the organisation’s First Female Chair.

The Newly appointed Executive Committee is as follows:

  • Chairperson – Maleena Awn (Meridian Maritime Services Ltd)
  • Vice Chair – Nirmal Dissanayake (Eastern Maritime (Colombo) Ltd)
  • Secretary – Aruni Wijepala (Hayleys Energy Services Lanka Pvt Ltd)
  • Treasurer – Sunera Wijesekara (Eastern Maritime (Colombo) Ltd)
  • Assistant Secretary – Shanga Jayawickreme (McLarens Group of Companies)
  • Assistant Treasurer – Patali Karunarathne (Centrum Marine Consultancy Pvt Ltd)
  • Immediate Past Chair – Rishantha Mendis (Prudential Shipping)
  • Shane De Alwis (Hapag Lloyd Lanka (Pvt) Ltd)
  • Prashan Fernando (Panama Shipping Pvt Ltd)
  • Kasuni Ahangangoda (Pership Synergy Pvt Ltd)
  • Aishwarya Palihawadana (Centrum Marine Consultancy Pvt Ltd)
  • Adrian Jansz (Hayleys Energy Services Lanka Pvt Ltd)

Founded in Norway, YoungShip International is a non-profit establishment with a dynamic and diverse footprint of over 4000 members in 31 countries, dedicated to promoting the interests and values of the next generation of maritime leaders. YoungShip Sri Lanka being one of the global departments, hosts a series of projects, activities, and events to connect emerging professionals with industry stakeholders, mentors, and fellow peers to innovate, collaborate and promote growth & diversity within the sector.

Over the past year, YoungShip Sri Lanka organized a series of successful events and initiatives to promote knowledge sharing and camaraderie amongst its members. These included the YoungShip Avurudu Party in April, entertaining over 100 members; followed by an environmental initiative in June, where 400 trees were planted around the Bundala National Reserve buffer zone. July saw the YoungShip Patrons Forum, while August featured hosting a session on “Digitalisation in the Maritime Industry and the Potential Impact of the Port Community System for Sri Lanka” featuring a panels of esteemed industry veterans. The month of July concluded with a fun filled Quiz Night hosted by the energetic personality of Dominic Kellar.

In September, the organization supported the CASA Maritime Conference by conducting a session on the theme ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Blue Economy. A family room for seafarers was established with the help of the Mission to Seafarers with continual efforts from November, and was inaugurated by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne in January. The year concluded with the Annual Christmas Party and the launch of the YoungShip Caring Hands program, providing resources to underprivileged children followed by two projects completed within the year in providing Stationary and dry rations to children in need.

YoungShip Sri Lanka continuously engaged with its international counterparts from Turkey, Rotterdam, India, and Cyprus, for potential collaboration opportunities in 2023. Leveraging on these global connections, Ms. Awn conveys that the organisation’s focus will be on four main pillars – Knowledge and Skills Amplification, Building Strong Maritime Communities, Championing Sustainability, Environmental Responsibility, and Community Outreach, and Operational Excellence and Innovation. Collectively, YoungShip Sri Lanka acknowledges the immense support received from all its support associations, sponsors, industry affiliates, and members as the community sets its sails for yet another eventful year lifting the maritime industry of Sri Lanka.