‘Celebrating Melanesia’s Newest Maritime Officers’

These PNG women represent five of the ten cadets from Pacific Towing who recently graduated as ‘Officers of the Watch’ from the Women in Maritime program.

Melanesian marine services business Pacific Towing (PacTow) is celebrating the recent graduation of 10 female ‘Officers of the Watch’. The Papua New Guinean women represented the first intake of scholarship awardees in the trailblazing ‘Women in Maritime’ program. The training program is a partnership between PacTow, the Australian Government, Swire Shipping, and Consort Express Lines.

The Women in Maritime program commenced in 2018. To date, 26 women have been awarded a scholarship as either a Deck or Engine cadet. A further four women will commence the program in 2022.

The ten newly graduated Officers of the Watch are now qualified to take on full watch keeping duties in their capacity as either a Mate3 or Engineer 3. As such, they are poised to make vital contributions to growing and further professionalising Melanesia’s shipping and marine services sector.

PacTow also has its own in-house cadetship program. Earlier in the year six cadets from this program graduated after having completed their final theoretical requirements and exams at the Fiji Maritime Academy. They are now employed on PacTow tugs around the country with opportunities to work on salvage and ocean towage projects throughout Oceania and South East Asia.

Scholarship holders in PacTow’s two cadetship programs receive both classroom and practical training. The practical training comprises an onshore component, as well as vital sea time. PNG sea time is on PacTow vessels as well as on the vessels of sister company, Consort Express Lines. Significantly, Swire Shipping provides the cadets with international sea time. During their cadetships, the recent graduates visited ports in Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Thailand on Swire Shipping vessels. Other cadets have experienced international sea time on Swire Pacific Offshore vessels.

General Manager of PacTow, Neil Papenfus, says that “international sea time exposes our cadets to much bigger, more sophisticated, and diverse vessels, than those that typically enter Melanesian ports. This sort of experience gives our graduates a real advantage in the employment market, and the skills and knowledge they gain will benefit our region for decades to come.”

PacTow is the marine services market leader in Melanesia. Headquartered in PNG with a fleet of 25 vessels and more than 200 staff (97 percent nationalised), the company also has an operation in Solomon Islands and a presence in Fiji. In 2019-2020 PacTow salvaged the sunken Southern Phoenix container ship from Fiji’s Suva harbour. A full member of the International Salvage Union and International Spill Control Organization, PacTow has completed more than 60 salvages and regularly provides oil spill response services.

To learn more about Pacific Towing: www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com