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Women in Maritime: Dive deep into the fight for eco-friendly shipping



This International Day for Women in Maritime, we celebrate the invaluable role women play in ensuring a safe and sustainable maritime industry. A key challenge in this domain is biofouling, the accumulation of aquatic organisms on ships' hulls. These organisms increase drag, reduce fuel efficiency and harm marine ecosystems. But how can women make a difference? 

Our spotlight shines on some incredible women who share their vision and how they are tackling biofouling challenges in the Maritime Industry. 

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Capt. Asena Sitela, Fiji Women in Maritimes Executive, believes women are pivotal in combating biofouling by raising awareness, providing training, and promoting eco-friendly solutions to minimise the transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species by ships. 
Their efforts protect marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health while fostering sustainable maritime practices. Jiokapeci Tagicakiviti (South Sea Towage) highlights expertise across various fields. Women in marine biology, engineering, and policymaking can bring fresh ideas to biofouling prevention and management. Adi Laisa Vunitiko (MSAF) emphasises education and mentorship. She sees women empowering future generations by building a culture of innovation and knowledge-sharing around biofouling solutions. 

These are just a few ways Pacific women in maritime envision themselves leading the charge against biofouling. Their passion, expertise, and collaborative spirit are a force to be reckoned with. 

The Pacific Community (SPC) is actively involved in addressing biofouling issues in the Pacific region by providing technical expertise, conducting research, and implementing biofouling management strategies through the Pacific Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC Pacific) and their targeted work under the “Accelerating Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies through demonstration pilots to reduce biofouling and related emissions” (TEST Biofouling) Project. SPC supports gender equality and inclusivity by promoting opportunities for women seafarers, engineers, scientists, and professionals alike to participate in research, management, and decision-making processes.  

In essence, promoting gender inclusivity and empowering women in maritime careers, including niche areas like Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) management, can be achieved through targeted mentorship programmes, customised training/educational opportunities, and leadership development initiatives. We can foster greater diversity, innovation, and resilience in addressing complex challenges such as IAS transfer in the Pacific region by recognising and supporting the unique needs and contributions of women in maritime.” Mavis Joseph, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Technical Cooperation Officer, The Pacific Community (SPC) Geoscience Maritime and Energy Division (GEM). 

By celebrating and empowering women in the maritime sector, we can unlock a future where our oceans are safe, sustainable, and respected for generations to come.