Women in the maritime sector lead by example

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“If you have an interest in marine engineering and have the opportunity to study, then do so; don’t let your gender dictate your dream.

This is Michelle Marnapal’s advice to other women in Papua New Guinea who want to follow her example as a marine engineer in the maritime industry.

Marnapal is one of 26 women from PNG who have been awarded Australian Maritime Scholarships since 2018 through an innovative partnership with the private sector.

The scholarships for women involve study at PNG Maritime College and Sea Time and other hands-on training supported by private sector partners Pacific Towing, Steamships, Consort Shipping and China Navigation.

The partnership supports workforce development and gender equality in the maritime sector.

Fellows acquire the professional qualifications and practical experience necessary for a career in the field.

Marnapal and three other winners are currently undertaking four months of international sea time aboard China Navigation’s MV Shansi, as part of their Engine Room Officer qualification.

Fellows’ time spent at sea – which adheres to strict COVID-19 protocols – is a chance to gain valuable practical experience in complex areas such as engine maintenance and repair.

“I’m learning a lot and can’t wait to learn more,” says Marnapal.

“The professionalism and work ethic shared between officers and crew is inspiring and encouraging, especially for cadets like me.

Safety is a priority as cadets learn safety drills and first aid skills. There are many opportunities for intercultural exchange.

“The crew are of different nationalities and that leaves room for interesting conversations during meals and during breaks,” she said.

With applications for maritime scholarships from 2022 open until June 14, Marnapal hopes other women in PNG will follow her lead.

“I encourage and urge them to apply. While a maritime career is stimulating, it is also rewarding. ”



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