The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, on Thursday, said that it would build its members capacity to be able to take advantage of innovations and technologies in shipping.
The President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, made the disclosure at a news conference in Lagos.
According to Ezeoke, the capacity building will take place on Sept. 29 in Lagos during the association’s annual business luncheon.
She said that the event would feature the association’s magazine launch.
Ezeoke said that the industry experts would deliberate on critical innovations to enhance maritime tourism and safety, among other pertinent shipping issues.
“WISTA is a women professional association that is in 58 countries, involving women in management positions in the maritime industry, and it came to Nigeria in 1994. “It is about women promoting gender inclusivity in the industry, creating feasibility, capacity building, networking opportunities and career advancement in the profession.
“Annually, WISTA organises a business luncheon which is part of sensitisation in the industry and even outside the industry.
“Over the years, we organised lectures to teach our members,” she said.
She said that partnerships, research findings and how to make shipping and international trade better, safer and cheaper would be discussed at the event.
On women involvement in the industry, Ezeoke said that the industry needed more women as their level of participation was still low.
“We need more opportunities and leverage so that we see how far and good women can perform and manage businesses in the shipping sector,” she said.
Mrs Rita Egbuche, Chairperson of the business luncheon committee, said that discussions around innovation and digitisation would position the nation’s maritime sector for more profitability and seamless operations.
“Shipping is a big business, and we have to look at key areas that can sustain shipping.
“ A lot of businesses thrive on shipping; so, we have to look at innovation and digitisation which talk about bringing new ideas for efficiency and sustainability.
“Innovation and digitisation will reduce losses, delays, and spur maritime businesses; hence, our focus on this topic.
“Some of the issues to be discussed at the conference are marine environmental issues, safety issues in the industry,” she said.
Egbuche added that there would be award giving to stakeholders that had impacted well on the industry,.
Technology disruption open opportunities for women in maritime industry – WISTA Technology By Chiazo Ogbolu Lagos, July 19, 2022 Mrs Despina Theodosiou, President, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), says technology disruption has opened opportunities for women in the maritime industry.
Theodosiou made this known at the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) one-day women in shipping and maritime conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
The conference with the theme: “The Future of Shipping: Weathering the Storms, Sailing High,” was organised in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5.
It seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
She added that the industry should its operations remain competitive.
She said that women would bring other things to the table while working with men, such as their carefulness and analytical skills.
“There are many opportunities with this new technology that emerged and this will lead to great leadership when emulated but unfortunately, women need to come onboard to be able to utilise the space provided.
“Key challenges that should be addressed are lack of awareness, lack of female role models and unemployment,” she said.
She, however, added that shipping had an obligation to share equal opportunities for both men and women with technology disruption.
Mrs Jean-Chiazo Anishere (SAN), Trustee, African Women in Maritime (WIMAfrica), while presenting the brief of the conference said that the future of shipping depend on women.
Anishere said that women must make themselves visible with requisite knowledge and skills for it to happen.
“Analysts have postulated that for Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, 90 per cent is highly dependent on sea trade which accounts to over 85 per cent of external trade.
“Singapore is known as a maritime hub in the world and this is due to the contribution of the industry and so Africans having a healthy blue economy will help its trade.
“And the interesting part is that the theme of the conference is focused on women to ensure that gaps in the industry are bridged to have equality in the maritime space,” she said.
Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, the President, WIMA Nigeria, speaking on Leveraging Technology Disruption to Improve on Port Operation, urged the country to embrace smart port.
According to Ezeoke, smart port is where there are reduced numbers of people, paper, single window where all information can be gotten in terms of clearance or cargoes.
“Maritime is an international business where different countries of the world interface in the port and so for us to be at par with other countries in terms of technology infrastructure, we should strive to develop our technology.
“Leveraging technology like artificial intelligence, blockchain will ensure time wastage is reduced, reduce accident, fatigue as a result of trying to locate where a cargo is,” she said.
In his contribution, Dr Emeka Akabogu, the Principal Partner, Akabogu Law, speaking on shipping trade challenges, noted that the challenge African countries faced had to do with logistics and formalities.
According to Akabogu, to achieve a liberalised market across the region, there is a need to improve, expand and promote intra-African trade which just stood at 14 per cent.
“It is unfortunate that Africans don’t trade much with countries within their region and this is attributed to logistics and formalities.
“For shipping, many years ago, a company was established to help ship cargo but folded up because trade within the country was not enough to sustain it, all these should be looked into to boost trade,” he said.
Akabogu urged women to be organically involved in the maritime industry to be visible.
“Women should be seen for what they can offer and not because they are women,” he said.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has urged the Maritime Women Association to coordinate and integrate their efforts toward engendering better positioning and development of the port industry.Saraki gave the advice during a stakeholders meeting with the association on Friday in Lagos.She also stressed the importance of more women inclusiveness in the maritime profession for balanced representation and to further develop the industry.“In other for us to seek for more funds both in and out side the industry and for maritime men to take us seriously, we need to come under one umbrella.“The same thing happened in the United States where all the women bodies formed one umbrella which has made them stronger.“We may have parallel bodies that will be powerful and be interfacing with the government which will help in achieving the set goals.“Please consider this request for the betterment of the maritime women to enable them speak with one voice,” Saraki said.Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, President, Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, commended the minister for her unrelenting efforts in ensuring that there was level playing ground for gender equality in the maritime sector.Ezeoke urged for the elevation of women in top administrative positions in the sector and charged women to participate in decision making processes that impact the sector.Also, the President of Women in Logistics and Transport, Mrs Khadijat Shabi-Sheidu, appealed to the minister to use her office to enable the female maritime practitioners to easily access loans with low interest.President, Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica), Mrs Rollens Macfoy, said the WIMAfrica, championed the cause for the blue economy, maritime security and good welfare for seafarers.Macfoy said that since the establishment of the association in 2015, the association had sponsored cadets as well as seafarers on international studies.She called for support to enable them train more women professionals in different discipline in the maritime sector to enable them compete in the men dominated industry.A Former Continental President of WIMAfrica, Mrs Jean Anishere, noted the ability of the former Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, to harmonise all Nigerian Ship Owners Association together to interface with government.She said the collaboration was easier for ship owners because they were not international bodies adding that it could be difficult for women in maritime as they had international bodies.The President of Nigerian Maritime Lawyers Association (NMLA) , Mrs Funke Agbor, advocated the need for women to be relevant in the decision making in the maritime industry.Agbor called for more understanding among women adding that there was need to have more qualified maritime women under the set umbrella organisation.Women in Maritime West and Central Africa (WIMOCA), Mrs Tosan -Edodo-Emore, and Mrs Victoria Tafa, Women leader, Port Management of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) called for equal opportunities for women in the maritime sector. . www.NAN news.ng
Collaboration, pathway to taming piracy in Gulf of Guinea
An analysis by Chiazo Ogbolu, News Agency of Nigeria
Undoubtedly, concerted efforts by countries in the Gulf of Guinea to curb piracy in the region have started yielding positive results.
This was recently acknowledged by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which said piracy attacks at the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) had substantially declined.
According to the Bureau, Nigeria recorded no kidnapping incidents in 2021 with the total number of incidents in its waters dropping more than 80 per cent, compared to 2020.
The decline, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said could also be attributed to the 195 million dollars Deep Blue project, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation through NIMASA.
Consequently, Nigeria was removed from the global piracy list.
The challenge before the country now is how to sustain this new status, and also ensure a piracy free Gulf of Guinea.
No less a personality than the Secretary General of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim, challenged the Gulf of Guinea nations to maintain the momentum in order to sustain the decline of piracy.
According to him, maintaining the momentum of gains made so far is the main challenge for the regional navies.
“To do so, you must address the root causes of piracy including the plight of coastal communities, in order to reach sustainable solutions to the issue of piracy,” he said.
Indeed, sustaining the decline of piracy preoccupied the minds of participants at the Gulf of Guinea security conference on May 10; a forum which sought a coordinated output for an international response to sea threats within the Gulf of Guinea.
One of the outcomes of the conference was that regional naval cooperation in tackling piracy in the Gulf of Guinea through shared awareness had become imperative.
But beyond wishes, stakeholders believe that there should be sustained political will, legal framework, and updated technology and innovation to sustain the decline of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, is confident that the decline of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), can be sustained, pledging to provide logistics and formulate appropriate policies.
“Two years ago, we connected virtually with a dark, sad and persistent cloud of blue crimes enveloping the region, but today the cloud is opening and we are seeing the sun gradually shining through.
“No one can easily forget the frequent reports of attacks on ships and kidnapping of seafarers in the GoG in 2019 and 2020 when they reached their peak,” he said.
Jamoh noted that the attacks had negative effects on seaborne trade in the region.
He added that while it was important to recognise the success so far made, the future must remain the focus.
Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Gambo, said the challenges experienced by member-countries should not deter their collaborative efforts toward reinforcing initiatives to advance and coordinate maritime security activities.
“Much has been achieved but there is still room for greater collaboration in the areas of information sharing, increased presence of naval assets and strengthened legal frameworks among the GoG nations as well as international partners,” he said.
Gambo’s views were corroborated by Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, president, Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), who noted that collaboration by states that bordered the Gulf of Guinea gave rise to the decline of piracy in the region.
She said the states formed a united force, and that international organisations like the United States Coast Guards and UK navy as well as the Deep Blue project of NIMASA, also gave credence to their anti-piracy initiatives.
She noted that all these efforts helped in the decline of piracy, adding that collaboration should be sustained for piracy to be completely eradicated.
Ezeoke pointed out that Lim was right in saying that Nigeria faced the challenge of sustaining its status after being delisted from the piracy list.
However, she said this could be achieved by addressing the issues that contributed to the piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to Ezeoke, in addressing the issues, the youth in coastal communities must be empowered through meaningful employments.
“Due to oil spill, environmental degredation, the means of livelihood of the local fishermen have been compromised.
“The fish are dying, the youth have nothing to do as their major occupation is fishing. The empowerment will enable them to have other sources of livelihood like tourism; they will need watercraft for such,” she said.
Also, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, a shipper, said piracy in the Gulf of Guinea would be better controlled in collaboration with other countries who allowed parts of their naval vessels to come into the region.
According to Nicole, the level of commitment and collaboration by the countries should be sustained until piracy is completely eradicated.
“Just recently, I read about our seafarers not having something to do, of course they will not have something to do because we do not have our own vessels.
“And the constant harassment of the shipping lines, make the employers of seafarers have a choice to say they don’t want Nigerian seafarers on their vessels; we cannot dictate to them who to employ.
“And the seafarers are saying if they don’t have anything to do, they will go back to piracy, which means that the origin of piracy is from seafarers who have been idle,” he said.
Nicole said seafarers had been trained to work with ships on seas around the world, and they knew the terrain of all the countries they travelled to, and so there was no choice than to engage them.
He said government had a role to play through NIMASA to ensure that these seafarers were employed.
In all, to sustain Nigeria’s new found status as almost piracy free nation, and invariably that of the entire Gulf of Guinea region, will require more than rhetorics.
Experts insist that the region’s governments must muster the political will, have timely and accurate flow of information, between regional authorities and piracy reporting centres to maritime assets such as the Deep Blue Project, both regional and international.
Whether or not these can be done to sustain the decline of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, time will tell.
In view of the recent boat capsizing in some states, stakeholders and operators in the country’s waterways are calling for continuous training of boat captains to curb boat mishaps.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some coastal states been experiencing boat capsizing recently due to lack of maintenance, irregular removal of weeds, wrecks and other impediments from the waterways.
Also lack of proper dredging and channelization of waterways and non-implementation of waterways codes are some other causes of boat capsizing.
Others attributed boat capsizing to perennial flooding, which mostly affect states such as Lagos, Kogi, Niger, Rivers, Oron in Akwa-Ibom, Kebbi and Benue.
In Lagos, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have renewed their commitment to end waterways mishaps in the state.
The Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Mrs Sarat Braimoh, said that continuous training of boat captains and licensing them to drive professionally would curb waterways mishaps in the state
Braimoh said that NIWA was already engaging boat and ferry captains in training on quarterly basis, particularly in the southern parts of the country.
“We are about commencing training for ferries and boats captain in the northern parts. We also hold regular safety awareness and sensitisation campaigns across parts of the country.
“NIWA also carries out regular security and compliance patrols on the waterways also our authority has established nine Search and Rescue stations.
“Our authority will establish more Search and Rescue stations this year, across various locations in Lagos, Lokoja, Port Harcourt, Yauri, New Bussa, just to mention a few.
“These stations are intended, not only to prevent but to respond immediately and provide timely rescue.’’
Braimoh said that collaboration with NiMET was very key in sharing information as to the vagaries of the weather which would help prevent sailing in bad weather.
Also speaking, the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel said that continuous removal of wrecks and impediments from the waterways would stem boat capsizing in Lagos.
Emmanuel explained that LASWA usually engaged boat and ferry captains as well as deckhands in quality training and retraining with proper dredging, channelisation of waterways routes, implementation of the waterways safety code.
The LASWA chief said that the agency also engaged in the continuous clearing of water hyacinth in the Lagos waterways.
Emmanuel said that fixed or handheld GPS, Port and Seaboard lights as well as Boat Radar would assist boat operators to enable them navigate efficiently on the waters.
The general manager said that it was possible for LASWA to collaborate with Nigerian Meteorological Agency to create awareness on the weather to guide operators against flooding and boat capsizing.
“The Lagos State Government is engaging both government and local boat builders in training in line with industry best practices,” he said.
He said agency would sanction and prosecute owners of abandoned logs, wrecks, fishing nets and impediments.
Emmanuel said there were also sanctions for dredging operators who do not totally submerge their dredging pipes, which in turn causes boat capsizing.
“To address the problem of boat capsizing, LASWA is engaging in constant wreck and impediment removal across the waterways in the state.
“LASWA is also involved in Manual and Equipment Clearing of Water hyacinth workshop, sensitisation and training of captains.
“Others are the deckhand on reporting, dredging and channelization of waterways routes.”
Emmanuel said it had also established Search and Rescue units with well-trained officers and community sensitisation programmes to enlighten riverine residents on the dangers of dumping refuse and fishing nets on the waterways.
In the South-South, boat operators have appealed to State governments in the zone to ensure periodic evacuation of water hyacinths on the water channels to reduce incidents of boat capsizing.
They urged the state governments to constitute bodies to carry out the task of clearing the channels of debris of sunk boats, engines and metals to prevent boat mishaps.
The Chairman of Godspower Jetty in Warri, Delta, Mr Timi Cletus said that some boat drivers lost control of their vessels while trying to navigate waters covered by water hyacinths and this often resulted in mishaps.
“The issue of water hyacinths is a major challenge in our business.
“It’s a challenge in the sense that some boat drivers try to avoid the hyacinths and in the process lose control or collide with objects,” he said.
Another boat operator, Mr Temisan Omatseye urged the state government to assist in the enforcement of rules and regulations guiding water transportation.
“Some of us do not obey the rules guiding boat business. They drive recklessly.
“There should also be periodic reorientation of boat drivers by the state government and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on need to avoid recklessness,” said.
Also, Mr Ezekiel Opukeme, a resident, urged the state government to provide boat operators with enough safety jackets to save lives of passengers and crew in case of mishaps.
A respondent in Port Harcourt, Rivers, Mr Ebi Theo said government was not concerned about the plight of boat operators.
He urged government to strengthen synergy with subsectors in the maritime industry to prevent boat mishaps through training, certification, provision of safety equipment and sanitation on the waterways.
“Debris of sunk boats, engines and metals could also be disastrous in event of collusion.
“Government should supervise relevant authorities handling sanitation on our right of ways to enhance free navigation,” he said.
A traditional leader in Asarama, a riverside community in Rivers, Chief Asuk-Okpon, suggested weekly orientation programme for boat drivers by the maritime authority.
Asuk-Okpon said such programmes would enable them to understand peculiarities in weather conditions within stipulated time.
“Drivers should know that during rainy season, especially there is need for collaboration with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) on weather reports.
“Sadly, boat operators here have yet to embrace technology in their operations; they are still using local and crude methods thereby exposing passengers to avoidable accidents,” he said.
In Yenagoa, Bayelsa, another boat operator Mr Ebimie Tonye, said boat capsized most times because of over loading, presence of debris on waterways and night travel.
Tonye said that capsizing and falling over board could be minimised if boat operators adhered to maritime regulations.
He called on government to ensure periodic clearing of water channels to minimise boat mishaps and loss of lives.
In his part, the Marine Transport Chairman, Nembe, Mr Ebinyo Alagoa, also identified over speeding as one of the causes of boat mishaps, and cautioned against it to prevent such ugly occurrences.Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, President, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) called for proper regulation of the water transport business to stem the recurring boat capsizing in the country.
Ezeoke said “for one to operate passenger boat or ferry, one must be certified, there must be proper training and certification and certification should not be just a one-off thing.’’
“This training can be done yearly to ensure that the operator still remember what its doing and operate with standard
“The regulatory body must always inspect the boat, its engine and others to make sure the craft was in good shape.
“There must be regular maintenance, proper and working lifejacket for passengers and two, three minutes talk as done with the boat in case of issues arising on what needs to be done should be instilled,” she said.
Rev. Jonathan Nicole, a shipper and maritime stakeholder urged the regulating authority for water transportation to ensure standards were being observed in the business.
Nicole pointed out that the boats that some of the operators were using were not fit for human transportation leading to some boat capsizing.
Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, on Wednesday urged maritime women practitioners on the need for collaboration to achieve maritime safety, security and build capacity.
Ajani made the call at the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, and the African Women in Maritime (WIMAfrica) conference to mark the International Maritime Organisation Women’s Day.
The theme of the conference was: ”Maritime Security: Issues and Blue Economy.”
She said that women in the maritime sector had done a lot for the industry which made the global maritime section to create a day to celebrate women.
“I am very proud of all of you women latching onto this to make sure that we mark the inaugural day in the history of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“I thank in particular WIMA and WISTA-Nigeria for collaborating to have this programme today. I have been in the background listening and proud of the lectures put up to educate everyone of us,” she said.
She said that while celebrating the victory in the maritime security, there was the need for everyone to collaborate to be able to achieve victory too in maritime safety and capacity building.
“We have training institutions in Nigeria where such training is done and I encourage women to latch onto this opportunity and educate themselves,” she said.
Also, Mrs Jean Chiazo-Anishere (SAN), a maritime lawyer, pointed out that a barrier- free working environment for women could not be achieved without an enduring and sustainable collaboration between all organisations of women in martime sector.
Chiazo-Anishere commended the collaboration between WISTA-Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria, in putting together the laudable seminar.
“This welcome and glorious declaration by IMO is to highlight the contributions of women in the maritime industry and meditate on issues affecting them, while proffering solutions to them.
“The declaration is also aimed at getting women to pick interest in maritime, so as to disabuse their minds on the erroneous belief that maritime is meant for the menfolk,” she said.
She noted that in maritime security and in reaching sustainable solutions, there was the need to address the root causes of piracy including the plight of coastal communities.
Mrs Rollens Macfoy, President WIMA Nigeria, said that the event was not just about celebrating women but empowerment, professionally, to give women growth, capacity building that was required to be properly positioned in the industry.
She said that to encourage more women in the sector, they had an ongoing campaign for women to rise up to the call, take trainings, seminars and be particular about fields they want to go into.
“I am pleased with the turn out of today’s seminar but we can do more. This is the first time maritime women association are collaborating to host an event, this means that they are moving and are ready to take over,” she said.
Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, WISTA-Nigeria President noted that today’s event was very significant in the sense that IMO had recognised the need for women in the maritime sector to be more visible and focus on training to breaking of barriers.
According to Ezeoke, it means that even with the strides of women now, there is aneed for a lot to be done to showcase them.
“This will give them the opportunity to operate at a higher echelon of the Industry,” she said.
She noted that the issue of funding was one of the challenges women were facing in the industry as maritime and shipping were capital intensive venture.
“Women need to own vessels, we are looking forward to that day where women will be able to collaborate, form consortium and buy vessels, watercraft, barges, ferris so that they can be in a position to have a meaningful say in the industry.
“We are very happy that we have been given this opportunity to speak and showcase those area of challenges we face,” she said.