The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) yesterday joined the rest of the world to mark the Seafarers Day celebration, even as it raised concerns that Nigeria is still lagging behind in terms women participation in seafaring profession, compared to Ghana.
Association also said that the shortage of seafarers globally is expected to worsen in the coming decade with a projected shortfall of 92,000 in 2020 and 147,000 in 2025.
The team for the 2019 day of the seafarers according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is “Gender Equality Onboard Ships”
The group identified sexual harassments, lack of motivation, sponsorship and mentorship as some of the reasons why women do not embrace the seafaring profession.
Speaking at the event yesterday, President of the NAMM, Capt Tajudeen Alao said that Nigeria is about 30years behind Ghana it terms of gender equality in sea career.
Alao said “In inviting women for sea career, we have to consider what are the job opportunities and accommodation onboard ships as well as motherhood, when they get married, what happens”
“Today, we have about four hundred female cadets, three master mariners, one in Japan, One in Port Harcourt and one in Lagos, so we are 30 years behind Ghana. Ghana passed this stage over thirty years ago, Ghana started in 1975, today we have five female master mariner in Ghana, some of them are in IMO, some of them are lecturing in Japan and coming to train us in Nigeria”
“It is the phobia that they would sleep with our women that has discouraged them going to sea”The association however challenged its members to do more in terms of getting their female wards and granddaughters to embrace career at sea.
He stressed that the association is putting structures in place before pushing for regulations that will provide comfortable atmosphere for the women.
“The atmosphere must be conducive on board for women to be on board. We are not happy that our children are not taking over from us in this job but before now the Nigerian National Shipping Lines was there all of a sudden it went off”
“Thank God for this government that is trying to pay them pension ,how would you encourage your child to do that when you are not happy with that”
“We are not employers of labour but adavocacy group and we want to put structures on ground first before we talk about regulations.
Whether they give you platform or not come and take it ,is your right,” he admonished.
Alao said one of the major reasons why women run away from taking up seafaring profession is pirates attacks.
“It takes a strong woman to be on board the ship because we have a lot of challenge.
We have the pirates attacking the ship and all that. Some of them will have to run inside the engine room to save their lives,” he stated.
Also speaking in a paper presentation, Capt Fatai Balogun said that very little has been done to encourage women in taking sea career.
There is a general shortage of sea officers right now because people do not like to go to sea because of the nature and the fact that they would be away for so long”
“The shortage of seafarers for 2015 was 16,500, the situation is expected to worsen in the coming decade with a projected shortfall of 92,000 in 2020 and 147,000 in 2025”
“What it means generally is that since men are not even going to sea, we expect that the shortfall should be taken by the females, if the females are encouraged, we would be able to bridge the gap that has been created”