The Chairperson, Ship-Owners Forum, Barr. Margaret Orakwusi has advised young females not to believe in the fallacy that shipping is only men’s business.
Barr. Orakwusi was speaking during a conference organized by Womens’ International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria to create awareness about the opportunities in the maritime industry to female students in secondary schools.
Orakwusi revealed that she never dreamt of venturing into the shipping industry while she was growing up, she is enjoying the shipping industry as a ship owner as well as the lucrative business of large scale fishing.
“There is this false impression that shipping isn’t for females but that is not right. I am a lawyer because law was my first passion. My first dream was to be a reverend sister before I picked up another ambition to be a lawyer. Today I’m a lawyer but I also have several other degrees in other disciplines and I marry their functions.”
“I have gone into shipping and deep sea trawling. When I went into these, I was the only woman but I’m enjoying and it has given me the opportunity to know everything about a ship. Today, I encourage you to take up a career in shipping because it is still an untapped sector with many opportunities”, she told the students.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Barr. Hassan Bello at the event, the Director, Compliance and Monitoring, Chief C.C. Agu explained that the maritime sector thrives on a tripod, namely; shipping services, port services and cargo services, noting that the most important of the three is cargo because if there are no cargoes, there would be no need for ships and ports.
Chief Agu also explained Shippers Council’s role in moderating freight rates since inception in 1978. He further explained other business and maritime terms such as surcharges, demurrages and others to the students.
He emphasized the importance of maritime a nation’s economic development, noting that the 10 poorest countries in the world are landlocked countries while the most developed countries in the world are maritime nations.
Chief Agu promised to write an elementary introduction into maritime for the students and send to their respective schools.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mrs. Ify Akenrele informed the young students that there were several opportunities for them in shipping irrespective of their choice of courses in the university.
Akenrele admonished them to be ambitious and make good use of the internet and social media to source for information that would help enhance their careers and better prepare them for the future rather than only use it for chatting.
Akenrele, who is also a former President of WISTA-Nigeria, revealed that she has always been an activist but stumbled into shipping. She maintained that the young females can be inspired by the success of maritime amazons like her and Barr. Orakwusi.
Also speaking at the event, the WISTA-Nigeria President, Mrs. Mary Hamman appreciated the efforts of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in ensuring the success of the programme.
In her opening remarks, she had admonished the young students to grab as much as possible when the speakers began to address them.
Mary Hamman said that the essence of the project was to create awareness, sensitize, attract and encourage female students to take up career within the maritime sector.