World Maritime Day (WMD) is celebrated each year to highlight the contributions of International Maritime Industry in World’s economy and to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment. On the occasion of WMD 2019, International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’ to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Contributions of women in the Maritime Sector remain largely underutilized in the World and Pakistan is no exception. It requires all maritime nations to create environment and career development opportunities for women in maritime administration, ports and maritime training institutes. Empowering women fuels economies, spurs productivity and enhances growth, thus benefiting every stakeholder associated with the global maritime community.

Pakistan is blessed with over 1,000 km coastline and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) / Continental Shelf of 2,90,000sq km with abundance of living and non-living resources. As the CPEC is set in motion, maritime activities in Pakistan are bound to increase manifold. There is a need to capitalize on the associated economic opportunities which would only be possible by building capacity of our Maritime Sector. Attracting women, constituting about half of our population, to maritime related fields would, therefore, help in accruing long term benefits from our maritime potential.

Pakistan Navy fully supports the growth of Maritime Sector in the country and is leading the way in raising maritime awareness; a fundamental pre-requisite for maritime development. This is being pursued through a vigorous Maritime Awareness Campaign Plan which includes engagement with all stakeholders to enhance their knowledge about potentials of our Blue Economy. The interactions are backed by research based pragmatic solutions that can help foster our maritime industry. Another thrust line being pursued is the promotion of Maritime Education Sector. In this regard, Bahria University has recently commenced Masters and Graduate programmes for male as well as female students, in Maritime discipline.

Pakistan Navy, on this important day, pledges its full support towards development of Maritime Sector in Pakistan and empowerment of women in various maritime related fields. Growth in Maritime Sector would be a step towards attaining self-sufficiency and economic development. I look forward to whole-hearted support from all stakeholders to help achieve true dividends of our Blue Economy.

(MESSAGE FROM CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF, ADMIRAL ZAFAR MAHMOOD ABBASI, On World Maritime Day – 26 SEPTEMBER 2019)

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