IT is rare for someone from the highland and inland region to be interested in the sea.
It is uncommon to hear of a woman from the highlands wanting to pursue a career in the maritime industry when growing up.
But then Chimbu girl Miriam Maua is one of a kind. Her interest in the sea was kindled when in 2015, a woman spoke to students at Miriam’s high school, Goroka Grammar School.
It was that speech which inspired her to pursue a career in the maritime industry.
“Working at sea seemed so different to me. In the highlands, women don’t really pursue a career in the maritime industry. That made me really want to do it.”
With that dream, Miriam worked hard through school to make it a reality.
In 2016, she left home in Chimbu to enroll at the Madang Maritime College. She has never looked back.
Miriam today has a General Purpose Rating Two certificate which qualifies her to serve on ships as an engine hand or deckhand.
Miriam is now putting her training to good use by serving as a deckhand on board the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) training and medical ship mv YWAM PNG.
With fellow crew members and volunteers from around the world, she is using her skills to reach some of the most remote communities in the Southern region and Morobe providing healthcare and training.
Ship captain Danielle McCarthy commended Miriam for being hard-working, responsible, and a valuable member of the crew.
Miriam and the team on the MV YWAM PNG are currently on patrol in Abau district, Central.
The patrol is a joint project between YWAM Medical Ships Australia and Papua New Guinea and the provincial and district health teams.
“As a female mariner myself, I’m so pleased to cheer on Miriam as she adds to her skills, experience, and knowledge. It has been so meaningful to be a part of training and equipping the next generation of Papua New Guinea’s seafarers, all while working together to serving hundreds of remote villages.”
Miriam’s responsibilities include supporting the small boat operation that transfers the teams and patients from the ship to and from villages.
She also does anchor and gangway watches, serves with the mooring station team, plus general maintenance work and keeping the vessel in tip-top shape.
“It’s amazing. I have learned from a variety of people and have gained exposure to so many different levels of the industry. I really like being bowman for the boat drivers.
“I’m the first female Papua New Guinean crew member to serve aboard the YWAM PNG. I am very proud. I love what I do, and I am happy I can be an example to other women who are considering getting involved in the maritime industry.”
She wants to move up the ranks.
“My dream is to one day be the chief engineer on the ship.”
Miriam urges other women to pursue a career in the maritime industry.
“I would tell other women to just go for it. You need to be strong, respect your colleagues and they will respect you.”
- Pictures and story supplied by the Youth With A Mission training and medical ship