In a bid to encourage more female participation in seafaring and other aspects of the maritime industry, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) tailored its 2022 Children’s Day celebration towards enlightening the Nigerian girl-child about opportunities in seafaring.
At the event which held at the LTT Coastal & Marine Services Limited in Lagos, yesterday, the Founder, OAF, Mrs. Violet Williams observed that at the international level there is an aggressive campaign for the girl-child to be involved in maritime, especially seafaring.
Williams noted that the event by Ocean Ambassadors was part of a strategic action plan themed; “Catch them Young” to sensitize the youths in secondary schools about the massive global career opportunities around the Blue Economy.
Her words: “OAF has taken it upon itself to join the global campaign for building youths interest in the sector. Based on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) statistics in 2019, only 9 percent of the nation’s seafarers are females in a nation blessed with aquatic endowments and human capital.”
“Don’t be intimidated by men in this sector because we equally have women as ship captains, engineers, tugboat captains, seafarers and women in other aspects of maritime like maritime lawyers, administrators, ship agents, among others”
She, however, commended the LTT Coastal & Marine Services Limited, for availing female seafarers the requisite training and onboard placement on ships for seatime and eventual employment.
Also speaking at the conference, the first black female Master Mariner from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Capt. Edidiong Sola-Abalo encouraged the young girls to have a clear vision of what they want to achieve in their lives and begin to work towards the attainment.
“We never had this privilege to be trained and informed about the opportunities in the maritime sector. You’re better placed to be successful in seafaring and other aspects of maritime with this learning opportunity,” she said.
Edidiong, however, advised the young ones to identify with women groups like Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, African Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigerian chapter and Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN) to get counsel on gender issues in the sector and seek guidance in their quest to be successful amazons in maritime.
On her part, the first female tugboat operator in West Africa, Capt. Ebinipre Canus, described tugboat as a unique vessel which assists other ships navigate through a narrow channel or anchor at a port.
According to Ebinipre, mounting a ship as a captain brings out an amazing feeling of accomplishment and a better self-esteem as a woman, thus, she encouraged the young girls to aspire for such achievements.
Capt. Ebinipre also took the students onboard a tugboat to give them an experience of seafaring.
One of the special guests at the event and Founder of the Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN), Koni Duniya, enlightened the students on the major transformations in shipping and the new vistas to be explored by tech-savvy young ones.
Koni, while speaking on the topic “What is Blockchain in Shipping?”, drew an analogy between the transformation in the telecommunication industry and shipping, even as she stressed that blockchain technology brings speed, efficiency and eliminates corruption.
The Executive Director of Nigerian MaritimeTV, Mrs. Ezinne Azunna also spoke on the importance of hygiene and the need to comport oneself in an admirable manner.
Ezinne harped on dressing appropriately, tidy hairdos, washing hands with soap frequently, brushing the teeth twice a day, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or one’s sleeve when sneezing or coughing, among others.