President of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Capt Abel Ogar has said that maritime insecurity was one of the major reasons why women do not want to take up the seafaring profession.
Capt Ogar, a retired Director in charge of training for Nigerian Navy stated this yesterday in Lagos at a conference organised by Women in Maritime Africa (WIMA) Nigeria branch, with the theme “Empowering Women for Effective Participation in the Maritime Sector”
The merchant navy boss urged the Federal government to address the challenge of maritime security to create the enabling environment for women desirous of pursuing a career in the maritime sector.
He also identified the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) as another cause of dearth of qualified and trained hands to man vessels in the maritime sector, he said there was no platform to train seafarers.
“There should be a re-establishment of national shipping line. The extinction of the national shipping line has affected so many things about the maritime sector. If we don’t have the vessels, we will have nowhere to put our girls.
“There is need to address maritime security. Women are very sensitive we cannot just push them to sea. With the situation in the nation’s maritime environment, we cannot empower women because women are very sensitive, so we need to create more maritime security for women to be involved,” he said.
Making a case for inclusion of more women in the industry, said without a defined maritime policy and improved political will on the part of government; it will be difficult to empower women in the industry.
“If we don’t have a defined maritime policy, it will be difficult for us to have a vision to pursue. It will be difficult for us to have strategy of empowering women. We need to clamour for a redefine maritime policy involving women. There is need to improve political will on maritime related issues as it concerns women”
“There is need to encourage equality and merit. If a woman can come first in academy, that woman can be chief of naval staff. If I beat you academically and professionally, I should be able to head you,” he said.