IMO Throws Weight Behind Women in Maritime


Piriye Kiyaramo

In its bid to encourage women to take up careers in the emerging blue economy, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently launched Maritime Technology Co-operation Centres (MTCCs), just it expanded its network of Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs), with regional offices in Latin and Central America in Valparaiso and Chile.

In a statement the IMO said that the WIMAs “give visibility and recognition” to the role of women in the maritime sector.

“This initiative in the region will also contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5, which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Financial support for the event was provided by Malaysia and hosted by the Maritime Authority of Chile.”

The new WIMA office comprises 62 women from 18 South and Central American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The IMO also celebrated the opening of its latest MTCC in Kenya, East Africa. The MTCC network is a joint project run by the IMO and funded by the European Union. The latest addition will be based at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, Kenya, and it joins MTCCs in Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific region. The Latin America MTCC was expected to open early in 2018.

Nancy Karigithu, principal secretary of Kenya Maritime and Shipping Affairs, said the centre would enhance the African region’s capability to promote ship energy-efficient technologies and operations. She said this would be key to reducing harmful emissions from ships, with the aim of mitigating harmful effects of climate change.

The Pacific region MTCC was launched in Suva, Fiji. Aubrey Botsford, the deputy director, administrative division at the IMO, who represented the UN body at the opening of the Fiji centre said, “Efforts to mitigate climate change and promote energy efficiency in the maritime sector, through actions taken by Pacific governments and maritime industry, show the dynamic approach taken by [the] region.”

Last year’s request for expressions of interest to host the MTCC led to a shortlist of 14 possible centres being drawn up from the 43 initial applications, which is expected to lead to more MTCCs opening in the future.