Foundation Moves To Increase Girl-Child Percentage In Seafaring

Participants at the Ocean Ambassadors Foundation Children’s Day celebration in Lagos

By Chiazo Ogbolu

The Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) on Monday urged the girl-child to embrace careers in the maritime industry, especially seafaring.

Mrs Violet Williams, Convener OAF, made the appeal at the foundation’s 2022 Children’s Day celebration for the girl-child held at the LTT Coastal & Marine Services Ltd., (LTT) in Lagos.

The theme of the event was: ”Seafaring and digialisation in Marine Services. Is it a career for the Girl-Child?”.

According to her, based on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) statistics (2019), only nine per cent of seafarers are females in a country blessed with aquatic endowment and human capital.

She said that to increase the percentage, there was a need to encourage girls to pursue careers in the industry.

Williams noted that the foundation had evolved a strategic action plan through an initiative tagged catch them young for maritime careers.

“Without seafarers, no ship can sail for international trade and at the international level, especially the International Maritime Organisation, aggressive campaign are on for the girl-child to come onboard by introducing policies to encourage them.

“This will help to increase the percentage of yet to be identified female seafarers and maritime professionals,” she said.

Williams expressed optimism that the event would mark a positive turning in the lives of the students that would rewrite the history of Nigeria as a maritime nation.

She advised the girls on the need to step up and know where they belong in society, especially in the maritime industry.

“You girls should not be intimidated because present before you all here today are women that have made their impact in the industry and society and so you all can make it,” she said.

Williams appreciated the LTT for their efforts for women adding that the company was very passionate about the girl-child that were interested in seafaring and would avail them an experience of a sea time.

In her contribution, Capt. Preye Canus, first female tug boat captain in West Africa, pointed out that women are not competing with men in seafaring, but rather collaborating to get the job done.

According to her, seafaring is a nice job, it is unisex and no longer a man’s job and so collaborating with the men ensures that there is no limitations.

“The only thing that can make one higher in life is if you decide to make a difference in your field, the question to ask is, if you are ready?

“I made a decision to go into this field and with determination I reached where I am now, and I believe you all can make it,” she said.

Capt. Edidiong Sola-Abalo, first black master mariner from Maritime Academy Oron, urged the girls to be focused and ensure a clear vision of where they want to be in life and work toward it.

According to Sola-Abalo, digitalisation in the maritime industry will enhance ship movement and help in navigating from one point to the other smoothly.

“You must not be a seafarer to be in the maritime industry. You can start now to improve on your skills with the computer so that you can be ready for a career in the field,” she said.

Sola-Abalo said that there were women groups in the maritime industry such as the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association and African Women in Maritime, Nigeria chapter, that they could approach for guidance and convey gender based challenges.

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