Celebration of  1st Action Day for Women in Maritime  in the Republic of Marshall Islands

In this current day, women represent only 1.2% percent of the global seafarer workforce. The IMO (International Maritime Organization) International Day for Women in Maritime is observed on May 18 every year. The day focuses on the following:

  • Celebration of women in the maritime industry
  • Promotion of recruitment, retention, and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector
  • Raise the profile of women in the maritime
  • Strengthening of IMO’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality)
  • Support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime

International Day for Women in Maritime

On 18 May 2023, the Republic of the Marshall Islands celebrated its first ever IMO International Day for Women in Maritime event, organised by the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) in partnership with the Ministry of Transport, Communication, and Information Technologies (MOTC&IT), the Marshall Islands Shipping Company (MISC), the National Training Committee (NTC), the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA), the German International Cooperation (GIZ),the International Registries Incorporated (IRI) and the Marshall Energy Company (MEC) at  Uliga Dock in the city capital, Majuro.

The College of the Marshall Islands is currently campaigning for new maritime courses for the next Fall semester, starting in this August. These courses are to provide high-quality educational services in maritime-related vocational training to the Marshallese people in the areas of engineering and deck-navigation works.

With the event, CMI Maritime Vocational Training Center Director, Edward Adiniwin hopes to include and recruit more women into taking these exciting new courses and eventually, pursue positions within the maritime sector perspectively.

Job Equity – A Marshallese Tradition

CMI President Dr. Irene Taafaki was present to provide words of encouragement and support to theedom 

One of the key values of the College of the Marshall Islands is its commitment to equity and access to opportunities. The Maritime Program is no exception and plans to assist women to enter and progress through maritime careers.

Dr. Tafaaki

Dr. Tafaaki continued, “Anthropologist Dirk Spenneman has written that “Marshallese have always been noted for their navigational skill” and “either men or women, were taught the secrets of sailing and navigation. In another Marshallese legend describing how navigation skills came to the islands, a crucial role was attributed to another woman, known as Litormalu (or Taramalu) and whose mother, from the “clan of Kwajalein.” From the time she was a small girl, she was taught by her adopted father and one other man, how to navigate through the skills of reading the weather and signs at sea, such as birds, rocks, swells and waves; they also taught her the chants associated with navigation. Litormalu spent a lot of time learning to feel the waves coming from different directions as they encountered land. When she was older the two men built her a canoe in which she continued to train until she became an expert navigator.”

After the ceremony with various speakers, the students were given a tour of the facilities around the Uliga dock and the SV Kwai, a sailing cargo ship that assists MISC in transporting passengers and/or cargoes to and from Majuro Atoll to the neighboring islands. SV Kwai has been operating in the Marshall Islands now since end of 2020. In a few months from now, a new sailing cargo ship will be added into the MISC fleet, funded by the IKI (International Climate Initiative) through the GIZ Project Low Carbon Sea Transport: the new ship will as well be used as training platform for future students.

GIZ Pacific’s Low Carbon Sea Transport Project is based in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

College of the Marshall Islands students and CMI Maritime Training Center Director Edward Adiniwin pose on the Sailling Vessel Kwai on IMO International Women in Maritime Day. © Geovannie Johnson GIZ FJ
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