Ten young PNG women graduated as ‘Officers of the Watch’ last week. The women, who were all cadets at Pacific Towing (PacTow), represented the first intake of scholarship awardees in the trailblazing ‘Women in Maritime’ program. The training program is a partnership between PacTow, the Australian Government, Swire Shipping, and Consort Express Lines.
The Women in Maritime program commenced in 2018. To date, 26 women have been awarded a scholarship as either a Deck or Engine cadet. A further four women will commence the program in 2022.
The ten newly graduated Officers of the Watch are listed below. They are now fully qualified to take on full watch keeping duties in their capacity as either a Mate 3 or Engineer 3. As such, they are poised to make vital contributions to growing and further professionalizing PNG’s shipping and marine services sector. The ten female graduates are Eddesha Aigil, Glenda Amu, Jamie-Lee Baim, Kimberly Kipla, Lylella Kunai, Venessah Philipai, Mary Roroipe ,Irima Rua, Salomie Tomwarie and WoleAmy-Lee Turia
PacTow General Manager Neil Papenfus, describes the Women in Maritime program as “a trailblazing initiative that is helping train PNG’s next generation of seafaring professionals.” He says that the skills and knowledge gained by the ten new Officers of the Watch will benefit PNG for decades to come.
Scholarship holders in the Women in Maritime program receive both classroom and practical training. The practical training comprises an onshore component, as well as vital sea time. The women’s PNG sea time is on PacTow vessels as well as on sister company Consort Express Lines’ vessels. Significantly, Swire Shipping provides the cadets with international sea time. During their cadetships, the recent graduates visited ports in Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Thailand on Swire Shipping vessels. The international sea time exposed the cadets to much bigger, more sophisticated, and diverse vessels, than those that typically enter PNG waters.
The graduation ceremony took place last Friday evening on Steamships’ pleasure cruiser ‘Moresby Chief’ during an evening cruise on Fairfax Harbour. In addition to the graduates, the ceremony was attended by several VIP guests including the Secretary of the Department of Higher Education, Research, Technology & Science, Dr Francis Hualupmomi, the Deputy High Commissioner of the Australian High Commission, Paul Lehmann, the First Secretary Education & Leadership of the Australian High Commission, Shaun Liew, the Country Manager of Swire Shipping, Alistair Skingley, and the Managing Director of Steamships, Rupert Bray.
Although the officers will be able to accept employment elsewhere, Steamships’ businesses such as PacTow will be making several offers. It is almost certain that some of the female officers employed, will help PacTow achieve its goal of having an all-female operated tugboat operating from its Port Moresby headquarters in 2023.