Friday, December 10, 2010

Inger Klein Olsen: Cunard's First Female Captain

It was recently announced that Inger Klein Olsen has been placed in command of Cunard's Queen Victoria, thus making her the first female captain in the line's 170 year history. Also, she is one of the youngest at the age of 43. Captain Olsen assumed command of the Queen Victoria - without passengers - on December 1, 2010 and took her to drydock in Hamburg, Germany. She will be on the bridge next Wednesday, December 15, as the ship departs on a "Getaway voyage" from Southampton.

Peter Shanks, the president of Cunard, said the following on this historic appointment:
While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition. But as Mark Twain drily observed, "the folks at Cunard wouldn't appoint Noah himself as captain until he had worked his way up through the ranks." Inge has certainly done that...and we are delighted to welcome her as our first woman driver.

Captain Olsen was raised on the Faroe Islands, which are situated about halfway between Great Britain and Iceland. She joined the Cunard Line in 1997 as First Officer aboard the Caronia before transferring to Seabourn in 2001. Olsen served aboard Seabourn Sun
and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to Staff Captain on the Seabourn Pride in 2003. August 2010 saw her return to Cunard as Deputy Captain of the Queen Victoria.

This is a truly historic event for the old shipping line. Although Captain Olsen is scheduled to leave the Queen Victoria on February 13, 2011, her appointment as master has helped to pave the way for future generations of female seafarers.

References: "History is Made As Cunard Appoints the Line’s First Female Captain," Cunard, December 9, 2010, under "News Room," (accessed December 10, 2010).

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