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Odfjell Promotes First Female Captain

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 11, 2023

Lise Henriksen (Photo: Odfjell)

Lise Henriksen (Photo: Odfjell)

Odfjell announced it has promoted its first female captain in the history of the 109-year-old company. The Norwegian chemical tanker company said Lise Henriksen has been named captain of the Bow Sky.

"On behalf of Odfjell, I congratulate Lise on her well-deserved promotion and thank her for paving the way for women in the maritime industry,” said Odfjell  CEO Harald Fotland. "Her expertise and leadership abilities have led her to this prestigious role – a historic appointment at Odfjell and in an international maritime field currently dominated by men. We are thrilled that we have arrived at a goal we have been systematically pursuing to reach for a long time: To appoint the first female Captain.”

Henriksen joined Odfjell as a Deck Cadet at Bow Chain in 2010, one year after completing her studies in nautical engineering at the University of Tromsø. Since then, her career has taken her onboard 10 different Odfjell vessels, including the Bow Mekka, Bow Sky, Bow Summer, Bow Hercules, Bow Explorer, and others, as she has risen through the ranks—from Third Officer to Second Officer, and then Chief Officer in 2019.

Born with sea legs
Henriksen's journey began in the most northern part of Norway in the tiny village Nuvsvåg. Here, she grew up as the only girl among four siblings.

“I have three brothers, and we all find it a bit funny that I, the only female, was the one who ended up choosing a seafaring profession. But I’ve always been motivated; I was the one who accompanied my father on all his fishing excursions. I’ve always known that I would spend my life at sea,” Henriksen said.

Nuvsvåg is a small village in Finnmark, home to about 70 people. It has a long history of fishing and farming, which were once the area’s primary activities. Fishing is a shared passion in Henriksen’s family, and although Lise’s father is now 70 years old, he still goes fishing whenever he gets the chance. When she’s at home, Henriksen accompanies himas she has done since she was a youngster.

“I grew up on a fishing boat and still do it now and again while I’m at home with my father. I’ve said from the beginning that I’ll go fishing with him as long as he wants me to,” Henriksen said.

From domestic to the deep seas
When asked why she chose Odfjell, Henriksen explained that her decision was somewhat fortuitous. After finishing her nautical studies at the University of Tromsø, she had no intention of working outside of Norway, so she gave Odfjell little thought.

After working on a fishing boat for a year, though, the adventurous side entered and her desire for new challenges prompted her in 2010 to contact Odfjell. She knew about Odfjell from school visits and from several of her former classmates who had their cadetship with the company. Since embarking on the Norwegian-built stainless steel chemical tanker Bow Chain as deck cadet, Henriksen has remained with Odfjell.