NMSA observes International Day for Women in Maritime - Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority
The inaugural global commemoration of the International Day for Women in Maritime (ID4WIM)
will be celebrated on 18 May and this is to be an annual event on the International Maritime
Organisation’s (IMO) calendar of events for IMO member states throughout the world, in
recognizing the role women play in the maritime industry. The theme for this inaugural event is
“Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment for Women in
The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) will host the inaugural International Day for
Women in Maritime first ever International Maritime Organisation (IMO) event this year.
The ID4WIM is an initiative of the Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PacWIMA) comprises
Pacific State Women in Maritime Associations (State WIMAs) that have been established and
these include Fiji (2016), Tonga & Cook Islands (2017), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu (2018),
Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Samoa (2019) and PNG (2007). These State WIMAs including other
Member States within the Maritime Industry play a critical role alongside parallel national efforts
to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all
levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
NMSA has being providing support to assist the maritime industry move forward as well as help
woman representation within the maritime domain including various participation and
collaboration with PacWIMA which is an integral component of IMO’s gender and capacity
Papua New Guinea assumed the role of Chair for PacWIMA in 2018 after a Regional Conference
for Pacific Women in Maritime hosted in Port Moresby and provides Secretariat support to
The initial submission to establish ID4WIM was led by PacWIMA, with co-sponsors from the other
IMO Member States of Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Singapore, Solomon
Islands, Vanuatu and the Vietnam and SPC.
The recognition of the ID4WIM came about after the IMO noted with concern that the testimony
of women from across the various maritime industries demonstrates that barriers and obstacles
still exist at every level and the work towards gender equality, including the fostering of a safe
environment for women in the maritime sector, remains incomplete and thus should continue
to be pursued.
Therefore, IMO endorsed the “International Day for Women in Maritime” and invites Member
States, the maritime industry and all others in the maritime endeavor to promote and celebrate
the Day in an appropriate and meaningful manner.
It is anticipated that celebrating Women in Maritime will see to effective change, women in this
industry should be given priority to keep the gender going, to set targets and see tangible
outcomes with more women in leadership roles, more women being visible as key stakeholders
and more women having access to capacity-building opportunities.
NMSA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Paul Unas said this commemoration would be the first of its
kind to be celebrated globally. However, for the Pacific, this will be 4-years of commemorating
the event in the Pacific
He said: “NMSA recognises women’s participation and advancement in the maritime workforce
and supports activities that promote career development opportunities for young girls and
women who want to pursue a career in the industry. This is evident through the employment of
a female officers to roles in the NMSA relating to, ship inspection, radio operator, oil spill
response, hydrography to namely a few, as well as having 5 female officers in the management
team of the Authority.”
In PNG, the PNGWIMA has been involved in much needed awareness activities since its inception
in 2007. Over the years, recognition of women in maritime and awareness of opportunities for
career paths for women has been an ongoing activity however, the results are yet to improve.
According to recent NMSA Seafarers statistics, out of 5,500 PNG seafarers, only 1.4% are female
seafarers. The NMSA acknowledges the work that the industry is undertaking in building
pathways and developing opportunities for women in the maritime sector, especially our
To commemorate this inaugural International Day for Women in Maritime, NMSA has released a
short video profiling relevant and key players to continue the awareness of the contributions of
women in the maritime sector and will end the commemoration with a cocktail reception to
allow stakeholders in the industry to have a conversation and share ideas on how best we all can
work together to promote gender equality and to empower young girls and women in the
maritime community in Papua New Guinea.