Within the dynamic maritime landscape of Saudi Arabia, the Transport General Authority (TGA) stands as a beacon of progress and transformation. Charged with the responsibility of overseeing the development and regulation of the maritime sector, TGA has played a pivotal role in shaping the industry's trajectory. One of its key focal points has been the promotion of gender equality, alongside the enhancement of seafarers through training programs.

Recognizing the untapped potential of women in maritime professions and the critical need for skilled seafarers, TGA has embarked on a journey to empower women and elevate the standards of seafarer training across the Kingdom. It is highly significant to underline TGA’s transformative role in supporting women in maritime and seafarer training in Saudi Arabia. Through its initiatives and collaborations, TGA has contributed to breaking down gender barriers, fostering inclusivity, and empowering women to pursue successful careers in the maritime industry. As the TGA continues to prioritize gender equality, it is poised to lead the way in shaping a more equitable and thriving maritime sector, where women are valued, enabled, and given equal opportunities to excel.

A Steady Back Up

This vision is backed up by the kingdom’s inclusive approach and commitment to further advance the maritime sector. Saudi Arabia's maritime sector, propelled by its strategic location connecting three continents and access to crucial sea straits, is undergoing rapid transformation fueled by ambitious targets and vivid strategies. With commitments to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and contributions towards maritime security, environmental protection, and capacity building, Saudi Arabia demonstrates its leadership and commitment to global maritime governance. Empowering elements like a growing merchant fleet, advanced port infrastructure, and streamlined electronic services further bolster the Kingdom's maritime prowess. Initiatives for a greener future, investment in marine services, and efforts to enhance the role of women in maritime fields underscore Saudi Arabia's multifaceted approach to maritime excellence. Moreover, the Kingdom's record-breaking achievements, world-class certifications, and emphasis on innovation and technology position it as a key player in shaping the future of global maritime trade and governance, evident in its bid for continued participation and leadership within the IMO Council.

Supporting Women in Maritime

TGA's commitment to gender equality in the maritime sector was prominently showcased through its support for the Arab women's workshop on marine biofouling management held in Jeddah. This groundbreaking event, held May 10-11, 2022, marked a significant milestone in celebrating the contributions of women to the maritime industry.  The workshop addressed existing gender gaps and obstacles while recommending solutions through fruitful working groups. By providing a platform for discussions on opportunities, challenges, and solutions in biofouling management, the workshop empowered women to actively participate in this critical aspect of maritime operations. By raising awareness about the importance of biofouling management in preserving marine ecosystems and addressing climate change, TGA contributed to enhancing the professional capacities of women in the maritime sector in the Middle East and North Africa.

Celebrating Women's Achievements in Maritime

TGA's unwavering support for gender equality was further exemplified through its participation in the celebration of the International Day for Women in Maritime on May 18, 2023. Under the theme “Mobilizing networks for gender equality” this global event aimed to highlight the achievements of women in the maritime sector and advocate for greater gender equality. TGA actively participated in mobilizing networks and fostering collaborations to promote gender equality and empower women in maritime and seafarer training.

Read More: Bahri concludes successful participation in Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference 2023 as gold sponsor

First Female Marine Trainer

With the official accreditation of Najla bint Salman Al-Naimi as the Kingdom's first female marine trainer, a new chapter unfolds in Saudi Arabia's maritime sector. This collaborative effort between the Transport General Authority (TGA) and the Aramco Marine Training Academy marks a significant stride towards gender equality and professional excellence. This milestone not only signals a pivotal advancement in aligning with global maritime standards but also underscores the nation's dedication to fostering gender equality and empowerment. By nurturing a diverse pool of skilled trainers, including women like Najla, Saudi Arabia is enriching its maritime workforce and amplifying its commitment to the objectives outlined in the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services.

Empowering Saudi Seafarers

In addition to its support for women in maritime, TGA has played a crucial role in empowering Saudi seafarers through comprehensive training and certification programs. The significant increase in the number of Saudi seafarers onboard ships reflects the success of TGA's initiatives in fostering local talent and skills development. According to the 2023 statistics, the count of Saudi seafarers of various ranks saw a rise from 1632 in 2022 to 2100 in 2023, constituting 28% of the total. Meanwhile, foreign seafarers, numbering 4115 in 2022, increased to 5324 in 2023, making up the remaining 72%. By providing quality training opportunities and facilitating the issuance of certificates, TGA has enabled Saudi seafarers to excel in various ranks and contribute to the maritime industry's growth and development over four continents. In 2023, there was a notable 16.04% surge in the issuance of certificates compared to the previous year, with the count rising from 374 in 2022 to 434 in 2023. These certificates comprised 68% Certificate of Competency (COC) and 32% Certificate of Proficiency (COP).

Furthermore, TGA's efforts to establish 11 international MOU’s for mutual recognition of seafarers' certificates underscore its commitment to enhancing the global competitiveness of Saudi seafarers and promoting excellence in maritime practices. These MOU’s are signed with Jordan, UAE, the Philippines, Indonesia, Panama, Bangladesh, Georgia, South Africa, Oman, South Korea and Egypt. Commenting on this evolving upbeat trend, the Minister of Transport and Logistics and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Transport General Authority, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, was proud of this growth rate, stating that the number of Saudi seafarers has increased by 30% during 2023, which is equal to more than two thousand Saudi seafarers. He said: “This marks a substantial growth trajectory, and this upward trend is expected to persist, further augmenting both the quantity and the enhancement of local skill sets.”

Robban Assafina, Issue 91, May/ June 2024, shipping, pg. 65


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Issue 91 of Robban Assafina

(May/ June 2024)


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