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Sea Shepherd Partners with African Women in Maritime to Empower Female Seafarers

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020

Sea Shepherd Global is partnering with African Women in Maritime (WIMAfrica), a non-profit organization that was started to promote work opportunities for African women in the maritime sector.

After a presentation at the Africa Blue Economy Forum in Tunisia last year on the difficulties of finding employment for African women who are seafarers, WIMAfrica President Jean Chiazor Anishere was approached by Sea Shepherd Global’s Director of Campaigns, Peter Hammarstedt who asked that resumes be sent to Sea Shepherd Global.

“Many African female seafarers struggle to accrue sea-time after completing their maritime training and that sea-time is a prerequisite to career advancement. WIMAfirca works to find job placements for these women, empowering African women in maritime for sustainable shipping”, said Jean Chiazor Anishere. 

Since 2016, Sea Shepherd has partnered with African coastal and island States to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through joint at-sea patrols with law enforcement agencies in the countries of Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Liberia, Tanzania, Benin, Namibia and The Gambia. To date, 52 vessels have been arrested for illegal fishing and other fisheries crimes.

The ships used to conduct the joint at-sea patrols are a vehicle for conservation law enforcement but are also a training platform for fisheries inspectors and navy personnel.

By partnering with WIMAfrica, Sea Shepherd Global is committing to offer work opportunities to women seafarers from African countries who are looking to advance their maritime careers while also working toward marine conservation.

Sierra Leonean national, Regina Conteh-Khali will be the first seafarer to join a Sea Shepherd ship through the partnership with WIMAfrica.

“I had stopped going to sea for a while as there were no shipping companies recruiting seafarers in my country anymore. Getting a vessel or company to hire seafarers in Sierra Leone is challenging and not just for women. It is still my dream to become the first female captain in Sierra Leone and I’m happy to go back to sea”, said Regina Conteh-Khali.

In 2017, Sea Shepherd Global has submitted a voluntary commitment at the United Nations Ocean Conference towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal #14: “Life Below Water” through joint at-sea patrols in partnership with developing countries. The partnership with WIMAfrica allows Sea Shepherd to also commit to the aims of Sustainable Development Goal #5 on achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls.

“Women are seriously underrepresented in the maritime sector – and women of color especially. Illegal fishing greatly impacts women along the African coastline due to the large number of women employed through the artisanal fishing sector, so it is natural for women to also lead the way in solutions. We are privileged to benefit from the skills and experience of the African women who are pioneers in their home countries by choosing a career at-sea”, said Peter Hammarstedt.

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