A student of the sea

Hebou Dago talks about life on the sea and International Day of the Seafarer.
Although a life at sea had never crossed Hebou’s mind previously, when she saw a call for applications on Facebook for the Australian Awards PNG’s Maritime Cadetship for Women in 2020, she decided to give it a shot.
Hebou at AAPNG in Port Moresby during a break from on-the-job training (sea time) Photo credit: AAPNG
“Thank God I did because it is a really nice program. It is a big privilege to be under Australia Awards sponsorship.”
Hebou’s experiences stretched her beyond her comfort zone and taught her to be resilient and strong. Having no prior work experience and graduating from an all-girls high school, the predominantly male environment was new. Upon reflection, she expressed appreciation for the fair and equal treatment from her superiors, who supported the female cadets and challenged them to take on the same responsibilities as their male peers.
Now in her final year, Hebou is confident that her engine cadetship will not only equip her for a seafarer’s life, but also enable other career pathways outside maritime and a sea vessel engine room. She encourages school leavers to consider sea faring career opportunities alongside the traditional route to university.
When asked about International Day of the Seafarer, Hebou says her favourite thing is the Maritime College open day, inviting the public to tour the school and learn about seafaring. “Seafarers Day is a celebration of seafarers, but what I see is it’s a good time to educate people about what we do. Sometimes seafarers are unappreciated. The job is very difficult, staying out at sea for long periods of time. For near-coast container vessels we stay two to three days, travelling from one port to another, but the work is the same as those on international container ships. I think our work is not recognized as much as it should be. With seafarers’ help, cargo moves from port to port and people get what they need. As part of Seafarers Day, we can educate people on what it’s all about, because we hardly hear about seafaring. Everyone wants to go to college, and seafaring is just as important as any other profession people deem important.”
International Day of the Seafarer falls on the 25th of June each year and is celebrated by maritime professionals all over the world.
Hebou completes her cadetship in 2023 and is excited about her future on the sea.
Applications for the Australian Awards PNG 2023 Maritime Cadetship for Women are now open until 5pm Friday 8 July 2022. To find out more information, download an application form and fact sheet, visit the Australian Awards PNG website or email: incountry@australiaawardspng.org
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