Against The Tide

Gift Essien, Nigeria

June 24, 2021

As a marine safety officer my day to day responsibilities entail promoting a safety culture by training and motivating the crew as well as continuously inspecting and auditing the vessels against the requirements of SOLAS and the ISM code. 

What I find most enjoyable about my job is the part of the project safety council that leads all efforts to enhance safety, assess risk, and design strategies to reduce potential hazards within an assigned workplace or geographic area. One of the major challenges of my job is making sure everyone in the company is aware of the common workplace safety issues, because accidents can be prevented if everyone worked together to make the workplace safer. 

The biggest challenge I face as a female seafarer is the challenge of acceptance. Being accepted by the entire group of men and having them consider you as one of them takes time. As the environment is strictly male dominated, women at sea may feel left out or ignored. The only solution to it I found is to work together and earn their respect. Take initiative. There are times when I was questioned on my capabilities. Often women are pushed harder to prove their worth. Be strong and show active participation in everything you do. The maritime world is the place where different cultures, people and religion mix. People learn to live together with their differences and in mutual respect.

As seafaring is conventionally a man’s world, many women fear to take it up as a profession. However, I believe fear is nothing but only a product of our imagination. If you believe in yourself and if you have a strong determination, trust me, nothing is unachievable. To be honest, seafaring is an arduous task. One needs to be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally before choosing this as a profession. It requires strength and courage, however with a positive attitude and approach you are good to go.

Marine Safety Officer, Nigeria

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