On the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Skypark Observation Deck, with a panoramic view of Singapore, Eddesha Aigil had a glimpse of what real development is.

“As I was enjoying the 360-degree views of the entire city, our trainer came and said to me. ‘You see the state of this country, it wasn’t always like this. Learn from here, go back and contribute to your country. Your country is your responsibility.’ This one really touched me. These people really worked hard for Singapore to be in this state,” she says.

Apart from Singapore, Eddesha set foot in the ports of Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands on a Swire Shipping Company vessel.

It was the first of its kind Maritime Cadetship for Women that took Eddesha to these parts of the world, thanks to an Australia Awards In- PNG Scholarship.

Eddesha was one of the ten female pioneers of the Cadetship, who all successfully completed their studies at the Maritime College in Madang in 2021.

“We were lucky enough to sail on international seas to get the unlimited license that qualifies us to sail overseas in the future,” she says.

Eddesha says that as the first group, they didn’t have anyone to learn from. “We didn’t know what we would expect when we went to the sea. When we came back, we told the other batches about the expectations.”

Eddesha is now sailing on a P&O Maritime Services vessel, doing shipments for OK Tedi Mining Limited Company. She signed on this vessel as a Class Three Officer of the Watch and is responsible for the ship’s generator, the pumps and the purifier.

She worked with the Consort Express Lines for two months last year and spent two weeks with Lutheran Shipping before moving on to her current job.

Eddesha (second from left-front) with her Colleagues at PNG Maritime College in Madang.

“The Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarship means a lot to me. I really appreciate what it has done for me. They also trained us on financial literacy and how to apply for jobs. That really helped us to secure jobs. We also used these skills to help our colleagues secure jobs.”

Despite the challenges of working in a male dominated industry, Eddesha’s strong passion and perseverance keeps her going.

Eddesha says that while she was a cadet onboard, there was not much respect given by male colleagues. Now that she is an officer and has been involved in decision-making, she has earned respect from male colleagues. “Respect is given on how much knowledge you have when solving problems onboard.”

Now a Class three officer, she says that she is determined to pursue Classes two and one within the next five to ten years.

According to the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority, out of 5,500 PNG seafarers, only 1.4 percent are female.

Australia Awards PNG Scholarship is committed to supporting more women venture into the maritime industry. Applications open on 1 May and close on 30 June 2023. Apply now!