Out of the 6,039 seafarers on the Nigerian seafarers’ register, 567 representing 9.3 percent were females, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has said.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, data show that 26 of the total 250 students in the school representing 10.4 percent are female.
Worried about this gender imbalance, NIMASA has promised to redress the situation through deliberate steps designed to accommodate more women in the nation’s shipping business.
Dakuku Peterside, director-general of NIMASA, who gave this assurance at the weekend, said the Agency was set up to do more in collaboration with stakeholders.
Recall the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) made gender equality the focus of this year’s Day of the Seafarer, marked June 25, with the campaign theme, “On board with gender equality,” echoing the 2019 World Maritime Day theme, “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.”
IMO said the emphasis on women empowerment this year was meant to draw international attention to an awful inequality in the maritime sector, where women constitute only 2 percent of the total seafaring population.
Aisha Buhari, first lady, who chaired the celebration in Nigeria hosted in Lagos by NIMASA, also expressed worry about the poor worldwide number of women in maritime, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to provide platforms that would encourage more women’s participation in the sector.
However, Peterside said in contrast to the worldwide record of 2 percent women seafarers, Nigeria posts better statistics.
Also, while 304 of the 2,041, representing 14.9 percent, beneficiaries of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) were females, 32, representing 13.4 percent, of the 239 cadets currently enjoying sea time training sponsored by NIMASA were females.
“We have adopted deliberate policies tailored towards bringing in more women to the maritime industry, particularly, the seafaring profession, in response to the global concerns. The maritime sector cannot afford to exclude the women, who make up about 50 percent of our population,” he said.
NIMASA, he said, would be engaging stakeholders in the sector to design measures and modalities for the engagement of more women in shipping activities and other areas within the maritime workforce.