Filipino women navigate the male- dominated world of seafaring

GMA News has posted the first of two parts article explaining how nowadays Filipino women navigate the male- dominated world of seafaring

Only 225 out of the 230,000 Filipino seafarers registered from 1983 to1990 were women, a study by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2000 showed. By 2006, the number of Filipino women seafarers deployed had risen astronomically to 6,436, according to statistics from the Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA) Databank and Network Division. Thats almost 29 times the number recorded by the IMO.

Women deployed

Women who work as chambermaids, waitresses and massage therapists have to pass the same Basic Safety Training like any other seafarer, before they can get their Seaman's Identification Record Book (SIRB) or commonly known as "Seaman's book." The most difficult part of the safety training are diving on a pool from 20 feet high and surviving a simulated fire situation.

Filipino women began setting aside these reservations in the past decade owing in part to the growing popularity of passenger cruise and the lack of economic opportunities in the country. Many of them have been enticed by the promises of cruise ship jobs as a chance to see the world.

Jeremy Cajiuat, project development officer of the International Seafarers' Action Center (ISAC) Philippines Foundation, said, "With the further rise of the cruise business and the influx of more and more ships into the business, there will likewise be a rise in employment onboard these ships for women."

The 2015 Cruise Industry Outlook released by the Cruise Lines International Association in February shows the number of cruise ship passengers rising 24 percent from 17.8 million in 2009 to 22.1 million in 2014. Cruise operators expect the number of passengers this year to reach 23 million, up 4 percent from last year's figures.

The CLIA also reported that its members are investing $25.65 billion to build 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. The commissioning of new ships means more jobs will be generated for seafarers within the next five years.

A cruise ship has a crew of from 800 to 1,500. There are 400,000 jobs available on cruise ships, and total wages reached $6 billion last year, according to the Cruise Ship Jobs Network.

Read further analysis at GMA News - Filipino women navigate male-dominated world of seafarers