Lloyd’s Register Foundation Backs Sea Shepherd Global’s Initiative For African Female Seafarers

Sea Shepherd Global is thrilled to announce that it has received a grant from Lloyd’s Register Foundation to develop and expand our program sponsoring female maritime cadets from Africa onboard our ships.

In a male-dominated marine industry, women around the African continent face substantial barriers in obtaining the sea time needed to attain the professional qualifications necessary for employment. Manning agencies in West Africa either don’t exist or can’t compete with the ones in Indonesia and The Philippines where the recruitment system is more developed. It’s also harder to get a visa, and travel can be more expensive. And unfortunately, gender discrimination is prevalent throughout the maritime world, including in developed countries. According to the International Maritime Organization, today women represent only 1.2% percent of the global seafarer workforce.

Quartermaster driving the ship out of port
Quartermaster driving the ship out of port. Photo by Alejandra Gimeno/Sea Shepherd Global

The grant from the Foundation will cover flights, travel insurance, and monthly stipends for four cadets to join our crew onboard Sea Shepherd’s campaigns combatting illegal fishing in Africa. They will be paired with a dedicated Chief Engineer or Bridge Officer to complete their logbook — the ticket to their qualification known as a Certificate of Competency, required to become a fully qualified seafarer.

We are committed to equipping underrepresented seafarers with professional seagoing experience, by upholding the highest industry standards in safety, crew welfare, and training onboard.

Checking levels in the engine room
Checking levels in the engine room. Photo by Alejandra Gimeno/Sea Shepherd Global

“Sea Shepherd Global is proud of its four-year history of partnering with women maritime professionals around the African continent to promote marine conservation while helping advance the careers of some of the world’s least represented seafarers in the marine space,” says Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd Global’s Director of Campaigns. “The initiative is the result of connections made between Sea Shepherd Global and African Women in Maritime (WiMA) during the Africa Blue Economy Forum organized by Mrs. Leila Ben Hassen in Tunisia in 2019, and its further development and expansion is now possible thanks to the generous support of Lloyd’s Register Foundation.”

“At Sea Shepherd Global’s crewing department, we’re committed to breaking down gender barriers in the maritime world,” says Bea Agüera, Sea Shepherd Global’s Crew Coordinator. “This partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation reflects this commitment.

Thanks to Lloyd’s Register Foundation generous support, we can keep promoting gender equality within the maritime sector, working to make tangible improvements in the lives of many women. Our mission is about more than just preserving the oceans; it’s about empowering the women who navigate them. Together, we’re working towards a future where gender is no longer a barrier, and equality of opportunity is the norm at sea.

“Governments, regulators and the private sector need to work together to remove barriers of entry into the maritime system, increase diversity and aid the just transition for all demographics in the ocean economy. I’m excited by Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s initial collaboration with Sea Shepherd Global, and looking forward to seeing how our funding will make a real difference to Africa’s female seafarers,” says Olivia Swift, Senior Programme Manager at the Foundation.

Beyond the women directly impacted by this initiative, Sea Shepherd benefits from having locally-trained cadets onboard, with first-hand experience in ocean conservation measures combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The funding from Lloyd’s Register Foundation will also enable Sea Shepherd to develop future collaborations with groups such as Women in Marine Africa, Women in Marine East and South Africa, and the Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria. We hope that expanding this program will also create opportunities for former cadets to mentor new ones from their home countries.

Press Release

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