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Aspiring Female Sea-Captains Hope More Women Join The Maritime Industry

“Working with men is tough especially those that have the mindset that women are not suitable for this job. So, for women to work in this field one must be strong and determined,”
04 Sep 2019 14:32
Aspiring Female Sea-Captains Hope More Women Join The Maritime Industry
Agnus Talei (left) and Vinaisi Baleivalu. Photo: Wati Talebula

Twenty-year-old aspiring women sea captains Vinaisi Baleivalu and Agnus Talei have a lot in common.

They are the only two females soon to complete their final year sea captain course at the Fiji Maritime Academy at the moment.

They are the only two females now about to complete their final year sea captain course at the Fiji Maritime Academy.

The two are also the only girl in their respective families; both come from a family of four siblings.

While Miss Baleivalu is from Vugalei Village in Tailevu, Miss Talei hails from Ono, Kadavu; they both grew up in Nadi.

The duo said discipline brought them this far and thanked everyone that believed in them when things were tough.

Miss Baleivalu said her dream of becoming a sea captain started when she was 15-years-old.

“This is my final year and final unit.  It was always my dream to one day be a ship captain,” Miss Baleivalu said.

“Working with men is tough especially those that have the mindset that women are not suitable for this job. So, for women to work in this field one must be strong and determined,” she said.

“I want to encourage more women to get into this field. It is male-dominated and can be tough at times but it is worthwhile.

“It is rewarding once you get used to it. The first time I went for my sea time was hard but I am now used to it.

“My parents have been supportive of my career choice when I told them that I wanted to become a sea captain”.

She said having her brothers have helped her in her career path.

“I am the third youngest of four siblings and I am the only daughter in the family,” she said.

“I have three brothers so it was normal for me to have men around me so it didn’t make any difference. The first time I was away from home was hard but once I was able to adjust I was okay.

“One thing I have learned throughout my five-year study is that one must be  disciplined in order to succeed in this field.”

For Miss Talei, becoming a sea captain was never in her mind until she finished her Year 13 examination.

“Becoming a sea captain was something I never dreamt of doing. I always wanted to become an aircraft engineer but I changed my mind after I did my Year 13. I don’t know why I changed my mind but I believe it is God’s plan for me,” Miss Talei said.

“Once I settled into the course and surroundings I realised this was meant for me. There are also more job opportunities in this field. I am the first and the only person in my family in this field.

“I am the second eldest of four siblings and I am the only daughter in the family. My parents were really not affected when I told them that this is the field I wanted to go into.

“They were supportive of my dream because they believed in my dream.”

The 22-year-old said deciding to study to become a sea captain was one of her best decisions she made.

“Most of the time people say that this is a male-dominated field but one thing I know is that one must be willing to sacrifice in order to survive in this field.

“While men are always helpful one must have strong skin when working with the opposite sex.

“I plan to get my ticket and work in a foreign vessel. I hope to one day do my Class 1 when it gets offered at FMA once construction of the new building is completed.

“One must be disciplined to be in this field because it will take you to places. One day when we become captains, we need to show good leadership skills to our crew and officers.

“It is about time we change the fact that this is a male-dominated field. Women can succeed in this field if they are willing to. My advice to those women who are planning to come to this field is that they must never underestimate their capabilities because of their gender.

“One thing about women is that when they set their goal on something, they can achieve it no matter how hard it is.”

 

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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