On the 26th of September, 2019, a group of vibrant women in the Maritime Industry in Antigua and Barbuda participated in a Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC) Awareness Seminar on the occasion of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) World Maritime Day 2019 under the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”. This theme was chosen by the IMO, the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution from ships.
Ms. Shenica Sebastian, Quality Management Representative, HR and Administration Manager and National Liaison Officer for WiMAC and Ms. Maxime James, Registrar and Alternative Liaison Officer of WiMAC supported by Ms. Shenique Barry, Administrative Assistant of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS) spearheaded the initiative. The objective of the WIMAC Awareness Seminar was to sensitize Antiguans and Barbudans as to the existence of a regional network within the Caribbean established to engage, educate and empower women working in the Maritime Industry.
Ambassador Dwight C. R. Gardiner, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the IMO and Director/Registrar General of ADOMS in his opening remarks stated that “this WiMAC Awareness Seminar is timely and geared towards empowering women which is in line with the IMO World Maritime Day theme.” He urged the participants to build and increase their networking capabilities and offered his support to advancing the development of women in the maritime sector in Antigua and Barbuda.
The seminar attracted receptive and enthusiastic participants from ADOMS, Fisheries Division, Brysons Shipping, Antigua Maritime Services-Tropical Shipping, B&B Shipping, Nautical Management Services Limited, West Indies Oil Company Ltd, Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force Coast Guard, KO Shipping and Carib Seas Ltd.
The occasion provided a great opportunity to raise the awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 5 and to highlight the need to effect change for women to be empowered.
According to the participants, empowerment meant “having the ability or resources to accomplish a goal and to charter their own paths, creating a presence, leaving a memory for present and future generations, whilst giving others a chance to shine, grow and develop, and having confidence and being in control in a “men’s world.”
The WiMAC Awareness Seminar spurred the interest of the participants and concluded on the need to create a framework for a WiMAC Antigua and Barbuda Chapter to build and grow a professional network of women in the maritime sector in Antigua and Barbuda and by extension the Caribbean.
WiMAC’s National Liaison Officer, Ms. Shenica Sebastian (front row, left), Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the IMO and Director/Registrar General of ADOMS (middle) and participants in attendance at the Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC) Awareness Seminar held in St. John’s Antigua and Barbuda.
WiMAC’s National Liaison Officer, Ms. Shenica Sebastian (far right, second row) and Ms. Maxime James, WiMAC’s Alternate Liaison Officer (far left, second row), and participants in attendance at the Women in Maritime Association Caribbean Awareness Seminar held in St. John’s Antigua and Barbuda.