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Academy condemns discrimination against women in shipping

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[FILE] A picture taken on April 8, 2019 shows shipping containers sitting at the Apapa Port Complex in Lagos, Nigeria’s economy hub. – The Nigerian port is congested with hundreds of ships, idly queueing for days to offload containers with goods. Lagos port congestion is affecting port operations and creating a severe backlog at ports, causing carriers’ containers to be held in port for extra days, as well as creating several miles of truck traffic at roads that links to port gates. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)


The Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Duja Effedua, has decried any form of discrimination or abuse of women, calling for sanctions against operators, who abuse females on board ships in Nigeria.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the 2019 Day of The Seafarers in Lagos, Effedua urged ship owners to employ more females in their workforce in line with the theme of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2019 Day Of The Seafarers, which states, “On-board with gender equality.”

He said: “Anybody that believes that men are still intellectually superior to their female counterparts is still living in the past. We have seen female pilots, Generals, Admirals, Air Vice Marshals. We have seen female Captains commanding very large merchant ships. These should be role models to the younger females that we have now.

“On my own part, I am on-board with gender equality. I have always encouraged it at the Academy. In our last admission, 29 female cadets applied for admission, and we took 28 out of the 29 that applied. The only one that was not taken was due to her medical condition. In the process of admission, we did not lower the bar just to get them in. The girls were academically sound. They were not inferior to their male counterparts. They have been there for about eight months now and they are doing quite fine.

“I will advise ship owners to consider more women in the new design of ships they are acquiring. Even old ships could be reflected to accommodate more female accommodation on board.

“The issue of sexual harassment against female workers on board vessels should attract jail-terms. I don’t think it’s fair or right to abuse women in whatever form. Many of us have wives and children who are girls. In this regard, I think the Nigerian Navy ought to be commended, because the Navy has been at the forefront of campaign against abuse of women on board vessels.

“We are the first organisation (Nigerian Navy) in Nigeria to have introduced females on board. I use the word ‘we’ because I am still part of the Navy. Females working on board Naval vessels have been a success story thus far. There has not been any record of abuse or harassment against females while working on board Naval vessels.”NIMASA too should be commended for its efforts in promoting gender equality amongst the nation’s seafarers.”

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