It was during a field visit to the Wavelink Maritime Institute as a polytechnic student when a Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) programme poster caught the eye of Deck Cadet Nur Syaza Binte Mohamed Ashaari.
“The poster showed the career and wage progression of a seafarer. I was immediately enticed,” she exclaimed.
When Syaza heard that she could go all the way to become a captain that sealed it for her.
Since then, there was no turning back. After completing her Diploma, she enrolled in the TNTA programme.
“My parents were against my grand plan. They only relented after attending the TNTA engagement event and had their concerns addressed,” she added. Joining a reputable company also assuaged their fears.
At the point of this interview, Syaza has completed 19 months of sea time and gained a bagful of adventures and interesting encounters. She recalled that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vessel that she was on was refused entry into the Port of Durban, South Africa.
“We had to adhere to very strict health and border law enforcement protocols. Those of us who were involved in the loading of provisions had all our boiler suits burnt as a precaution against infection,” she said.
Today, women represent only two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers. “Women should not be afraid to take on challenges. It may seem daunting to be in a male-dominated field. I encourage aspiring female seafarers to work hard to achieve success and show everyone that it is possible for women in maritime to break barriers”, said Syaza.
When asked about her aspiration, Syaza determined, “I want to go all the way to be a captain one day.”
SMOU is cheering you on, Syaza!