By Chiazo Ogbolu
Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation has tasked maritime women practitioners on the need for collaboration to achieve maritime safety, security and build capacity.
Ajani made the call at the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, and the African Women in Maritime (WIMAfrica) conference to mark the International Maritime Organisation Women’s Day.
The theme of the conference was: ”Maritime Security: Issues and Blue Economy.”
She said that women in the maritime sector had done a lot for the industry which made the global maritime section to create a day to celebrate women.
“I am very proud of all of you women latching onto this to make sure that we mark the inaugural day in the history of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“I thank in particular WIMA and WISTA-Nigeria for collaborating to have this programme today. I have been in the background listening and proud of the lectures put up to educate everyone of us,” she said.
She said that while celebrating the victory in the maritime security, there was the need for everyone to collaborate to be able to achieve victory too in maritime safety and capacity building.
“We have training institutions in Nigeria where such training is done and I encourage women to latch onto this opportunity and educate themselves,” she said.
Also, Mrs Jean Chiazo-Anishere (SAN), a maritime lawyer, pointed out that a barrier- free working environment for women could not be achieved without an enduring and sustainable collaboration between all organisations of women in martime sector.
Chiazo-Anishere commended the collaboration between WISTA-Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria, in putting together the laudable seminar.
“This welcome and glorious declaration by IMO is to highlight the contributions of women in the maritime industry and meditate on issues affecting them, while proffering solutions to them.
“The declaration is also aimed at getting women to pick interest in maritime, so as to disabuse their minds on the erroneous belief that maritime is meant for the menfolk,” she said.
She noted that in maritime security and in reaching sustainable solutions, there was the need to address the root causes of piracy including the plight of coastal communities.
Mrs Rollens Macfoy, President WIMA Nigeria, said that the event was not just about celebrating women but empowerment, professionally, to give women growth, capacity building that was required to be properly positioned in the industry.
She said that to encourage more women in the sector, they had an ongoing campaign for women to rise up to the call, take trainings, seminars and be particular about fields they want to go into.
“I am pleased with the turn out of today’s seminar but we can do more. This is the first time maritime women association are collaborating to host an event, this means that they are moving and are ready to take over,” she said.
Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, WISTA-Nigeria President noted that today’s event was very significant in the sense that IMO had recognised the need for women in the maritime sector to be more visible and focus on training to breaking of barriers.
According to Ezeoke, it means that even with the strides of women now, there is aneed for a lot to be done to showcase them.
“This will give them the opportunity to operate at a higher echelon of the Industry,” she said.
She noted that the issue of funding was one of the challenges women were facing in the industry as maritime and shipping were capital intensive venture.
“Women need to own vessels, we are looking forward to that day where women will be able to collaborate, form consortium and buy vessels, watercraft, barges, ferris so that they can be in a position to have a meaningful say in the industry.
“We are very happy that we have been given this opportunity to speak and showcase those area of challenges we face,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma