Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN) is a former Continental President of African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA). She is also a former President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria.
Anishere was one of the guests when WISTA Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria recently hosted an event to mark International Day for Women in Maritime and she spoke to The News Diet, on some pertinent issues in Nigeria’s maritime sector. Enjoy it:
How significant is this maiden edition of the International Day for Women in Maritime as declared by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)?
WISTA Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria have collaborated to join the world in celebrating the International Day for Women as directed by IMO. This is the first edition and two of the nation’s giant and famous maritime women associations WIMA and WISTA have decided to come together to make the nation proud.
I would like to state here that we cannot achieve a barrier- free working environment for women in maritime, without an enduring and sustainable collaboration between all the various organisations of women in maritime So once again, I salute and commend this collaboration between WISTA Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria, in putting together this laudable seminar.
As we celebrate women in maritime, It’s important to note that women still suffer bullying and harassment in the sector especially among seafarers. What’s your position on this menace?
Over the years, these two associations have been kicking against victimization of women particularly those in seafaring. It is gratifying to note that the men have been listening to these sensitization campaigns because the problem has dwindled. Today, we have more women encouraged to go into seafaring because the men see them as partners and collaborate with them as opposed to the bullying and other acts of harassment that made the profession a dreaded one for women in the past.
Today, there is an improvement and I’m sure that going forward we will continue to record this improvement until we attain a level where there is zero tolerance for women harassment in the sector.
Since the deployment of the Deep Blue Project, Nigeria and the entire Gulf of Guinea has recorded gains in maritime security. The new challenge will be to maintain this peace or improve on it. How can the nation build on this success?
We have seen the gains in terms of maritime security since the emergence of Deep Blue Project under the Federal Ministry of Transportation and anchored by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The progress has made it possible for the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) to declare that the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) has attained a record where piracy has been brought to a minimal percentage. As a matter of fact, Nigeria is no longer seen as a red-flag for piracy and armed robbery at sea. Going forward, there is a need to truly implement the Deep Blue Project and ensure that we collaborate with other regional countries.
As it was outlined in the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction conference (GOG-MCF/SHADE) in Abuja few weeks ago, no country can solely achieve the security of her waters without collaboration with neighbours. Nigeria needs to collaborate with other stakeholders particularly the countries in the GoG to ensure that the Deep Blue Project is also followed suit by these countries. There should also be collaboration between the navies of countries in this region.
The Suppressing of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act is also important and other regional countries should be encouraged to have similar legislation. This way, when any pirate is caught within the region, such pirate could be arrested in a separate country using the same Act or a similar one to prosecute the pirate.
Collaboration is key because it’s a game-changer. Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project should be improved upon and we shouldn’t rest on our oars because IMB has declared the country a zero tolerance country in terms of piracy. Deep Blue Project should be a continuing project that should be enlarged and extended to other countries until the GoG isn’t just seen to be safe but also other oceans.
At a recent seminar for Ocean Security by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the speakers said we have only one ocean. We don’t have African ocean or Atlantic ocean or Indian ocean. So, there is only one ocean when we talk about ocean security, sustainability of the oceans in terms of blue economy, safety of our ports, the logistics concerns and all that it takes. We should see the ocean as one single ocean and collaborate to protect and preserve it.