"A golden opportunity for women"

As part of the activities of BOURBON's Diversity & Inclusion Committee, dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism within the Group, we bring you portraits of women employees, onshore and offshore, who share their experiences of working in a sector traditionally occupied by men... Today, Joy Akunna Osuigwe, Captain at Bourbon Interoil Nigeria.


Can you tell us more about your background?
My name is Captain Joy Akunna Osuigwe, I am a graduate of Nautical Science from Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technologies Lagos, I also have a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Shipping Logistics Management as well as a degree in Transportation Management from FUTO.

How would you describe your career as a woman at BOURBON?
It has been a roller coaster ride, there has been ups and down but overall, it's been a worth-while experience.

What are the main challenges you face as a woman working offshore as a Captain onboard the vessel?
There is always an initial skepticism about a woman's capacity to do this work. As the saying goes what a man can do a woman can even do it better, and I have demonstrated this time and time again.

If you had the opportunity, what would you consider changing in your day-to-day work?
I would like to be more involved in management and supervising roles leveraging on my vast operational experience.

From your perspective, how do you see the future of women at Bourbon?
The future is bright, the world is moving towards more of diversity and inclusion and this presents a golden opportunity at this time for women, but women need to be ready and equipped with the rights skills in order to take advantage of this.

Would you recommend a career in the maritime industry to young women? If so, what advice would you give them?
Transportation and supply chain is what makes the world go round, there is nothing you can do now without involving supply chain and transportation. Consequently, there will be ever increasing opportunities for women along the entire value chain, including maritime, they just need to decide on which aspect they like and then focus on it. I will further advise they study those courses I studied at school to make themselves competent for a life in Marine.

What do you think BOURBON can do to better support and encourage the retention of female seafarers in the group taking into consideration the limitations they could experience in carrying on with their marital or personal lives?
Very good question, as I said earlier the world is Changing to focus on things about diversity and inclusion. This means making reasonable adjustments such as more maternity months, flexible working, working from home, and so on and so forth. These are things that will enable women balance their work and their marital lives.

If you were given an opportunity to change something significant in your work life, what would you change?
Having served several years in the field, I hope and look forward to a future desk job that has some supervisory oversight over maritime operations.