SUNBIZ

Seafaring, Anyone’s Profession

In the past, it was usually rare to find women workers at sea but, now more women are confronting prejudice and becoming valuable members of ships’ crew. According to a
20 May 2015 09:01
Seafaring, Anyone’s Profession

In the past, it was usually rare to find women workers at sea but, now more women are confronting prejudice and becoming valuable members of ships’ crew.

According to a report by ITF Seafarers, women make up only an estimated two per cent of the world’s maritime workforce working mainly in the cruise and ferries sector, often for Flags of Convenience (FOC) vessels.

Here in Fiji, the maritime education sector is working hard to educate the public especially young girls to take up studies in the maritime field.

The Fiji National University and Fiji Maritime Academy are recruiting female students in the maritime and engineering disciplines.

FMA chief executive officer, Captain Suren Gurusinghe said gender is no barrier and those jobs at sea at highly paid and women should feel free to take up such opportunities.

At Walu Bay in Suva, the Marine Industrial and Structural Engineering Limited (MISEL) is an example of a company that encourages women’s representation in the marine engineering workshops.

MISEL senior executive officer Kelepi Funilagi said their organization has equal access to opportunities and career development and also in promoting gender equality and better work practices.

Currently, the company has two female FNU attachés who have established keen interest in the marine engineering and shipping sector.

“We always promote flexible working environment with everyone and especially after receiving interest from the two female to spend their industrial attachment with us is more than welcome.

“I can say they doing great after being the only female worker working and learning at the same time from our engineers daily, they a very capable and committed to work that they realise that we uphold,” Mr Funilagi said.

He added: “This can also be our strength in the long run if we continue to see that we can also access the full talent pool and maximise on our business opportunities and operations.”

Twenty-one-year-old Akanisi Talei, an attaché with MISEL said despite challenges of working in the male dominated workshop, she actually enjoys it.

She added that gender is no barrier and young girls must have the courage to take up bold careers that will reflect their capabilities.

 

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