Master Mariners support improved work environment to encourage more female participation in seafaring

Capt. Tajudeen Alao, President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners


The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has supported the call by the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) to empower  women in the maritime industry.

Speaking during an interactive forum marking the 2019 ‘Day of the Seafarer,’ President of the NAMM, Capt. Tajudeen Alao, said that indeed many issues including pirate attacks  must be addressed to ensure gender equality in seafaring profession.

He said: "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. However, before now,  the Nigerian National Shipping Lines was there, and suddenly, it went off.

"It takes a strong woman to be on board the ship, because there are lots of  challenges like pirates attacking the ship and all that. When that happens, some of the women will have to run inside the engine room to save their lives."

Capt. Alao also used the opportunity to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for making efforts in the payment of pension to retired staff of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Lines (NNSL).
  
"Thank God for this government that is trying to pay them pension now. How would you encourage your child to take up seafaring job when you are not happy with it?"

He disclosed that though the NAMM is not an employer of labour, it was working on instituting structures on ground to drive regulations for gender equality.

The master mariners president also mentioned that Nigerians did not celebrate professionalism, and urged non-professionals working with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to develop themselves appropriately.

He said that Ghana had gone ahead of Nigeria on the issue of gender equality on board vessels and maritime business generally.

Meanwhile,  the first female Captain, Mrs. Idiobiong Abalo, called on women in the industry to be integrity- conscious,  as that is one of the challenges they face in the sector.

She said:"Women in the sector who want to succeed must be disciplined."

She called on the government to help the seafarers especially in the area of getting ships for training, just as she urged older seafarers to encourage the younger ones, particulary the women.

The 2019 'Day of the Seafarer' celebration adopted the catchphrase #on board with gender equality to  drive the call to action for more women participation in seafaring .