Malaysian ship management company Eaglestar has appointed its first female Malaysian master mariner as captain aboard one of its vessels.
The new master of the LNG carier Seri Bijaksana, Capt. Eezmaira Sazzea, was among the first group of Malaysian women selected to pursue training at the Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM, also known as the Malaysian Maritime Academy). She graduated from ALAM in 2011 and has been sailing as an Eaglestar officer for the past 10 years.
Her first voyage as captain began on August 13 when she took over the command of the Seri Bijaksana, a 90,000 dwt LNG carrier. “I am very grateful and honored to be the first Malaysian female master mariner in Eaglestar, and it will certainly be an exciting journey for me in this new role," she said. "I hope that this will inspire my fellow women seafarers, to strive for greater accomplishments as we continue to add value to the global maritime industry."
Captain Peter Liew, Managing Director & CEO of Eaglestar, welcomed Capt. Sazzea's appointment as a sign of growing opportunities for female mariners. "We are incredibly proud to have appointed Captain Eezmaira Sazzea as our first-ever female captain for Malaysia," he said. "We look forward to her future successes in leading her crew in the years ahead and we hope that this accomplishment will pave the way for more female seafarers to follow in her footsteps."
Eaglestar is the ship management and crewing division of Malaysian shipping conglomerate MISC Berhad, and it provides third-party ship management, drydocking management and newbuild project management. MISC's top leadership also expressed its welcome for Capt. Sazzea in her pathsetting new appointment.
"At MISC Group, we are proud of our talented global workforce, and we believe that diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our core values and strategic business goals," said Yee Yang Chien, the president and group CEO of MISC. "In shaping the workforce of the future, we are committed to building a sustainable talent pipeline that will drive the progress for the maritime and energy industry.”
Capt. Sazzea is not alone in her achievements, and several of her classmates are following closely in her footsteps. According to seafarers advocacy group ISWAN, the first class of female mariners who graduated from ALAM have encountered considerable success. By 2018, three out of the first 11 female students from the academy had risen up through the ranks and were sailing as chief officers aboard LNG carriers.
Their achievents are particularly significant when viewed against the global background for women in seagoing professions. According to data collected by BIMCO, the total number of female seafarers has risen by 50 percent worldwide since 2015, but IMO notes that there is still a long way to go: the 25,000 women who work at sea make up just 1.2 percent of the global seafaring workforce.