Against The Tide

Melanie Yambun, Papua New Guinea

March 2, 2022

Currently, as a cadet I don’t really have any specific responsibilities onboard and as I am fortunate enough to be sponsored and in a joint partnership programme . Locally I got to be working on tugs where my day to day work is to be engaged in harbor towage of vessels when they are coming into the port and participate in maintenance as a deckhand, learning to drive the tug. Recently, I was onboard an international container ship where my days were spent with my training officer and 4 other cadets doing the company’s standard training program. I got to do 4 hours navigation bridge watchkeeping and cargo watch with different officers, assist the 3rd mate with testing and maintenance of Fire Fighting and Life Saving Appliances and chipping and painting with the deck crew.

What I liked about my job is that everyday is an adventure filled with its own challenges and no job is ever the same. I get to meet people of different nationalities and learn about their cultures.

So far in terms of gender based challenges, it’s the usual questions that I know they have asked other female seafarers about why this profession, I got questioned about my capabilities and physical strength and how long I will last before getting pregnant and all that, at first I got bothered about it but as time went on I tend to just brush them off and do not let what they said bother me. Because it’s their opinions about me and what’s important is that I know my strengths and weaknesses and my priorities that’s why I always try to keep an open mind.

One thing I would advocate for Is for more shipping companies to allow employment of female seafarers and the size of coveralls to be inclusive for women onboard.

My advice to other female seafarers is to go for it head on and don’t let what other people’s opinions question your decision about developing a career in this industry.

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