Young Simbu mariner blazes trail for PNG women

As a child growing up in Simbu Province, Miriam Maua never expected to become a seafarer.

It was a motivational speech delivered by a woman at Maua’s high school, Goroka Grammar School, in 2015 that inspired her to pursue a career at sea.

“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,” said Maua.

With a fire in her belly and a dream in her heart, Maua worked to make her vision a reality. She ventured from the Highlands and enrolled at Madang Maritime College in 2016 where she began her career.

Maua now has a General Purpose Rating Two under her belt, which qualifies her to serve on ships as an engine hand or deckhand.

Maua is now putting her training to use by serving as a deckhand aboard the YWAM Training and Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG. Alongside her fellow crew members and volunteers from around the globe, she is using her skillset to reach some of Papua New Guinea’s most remote communities in the Southern Region and Morobe Province with healthcare and training.

Maua’s responsibilities include supporting the small boat operations that transfer teams and patients to and from villages to the ship, anchor and gangway watches, serving in a mooring stations team and general maintenance and upkeep of the vessel.

“It’s amazing,” she said, “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 MV 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.

“My dream is to one day be the Chief Engineer on board!” said Maua.

Captain of the MV YWAM PNG, Danielle McCarthy, said Maua is hard-working, responsible and a valuable member of the crew.

“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,” said McCarthy.

When Maua is asked what she would say to other women pursuing a career in the maritime industry, she shares: “I would tell other women to just go for it! You need to be strong, respect your colleagues and they will respect you.”

Maua and the team aboard the MV YWAM PNG are currently on patrol in Abau District, Central Province.  

The patrol is a collaborative effort between YWAM Medical Ships Australia & Papua New Guinea (YWAM MS) and provincial and district health teams. The MV YWAM PNG is proud to be fuelled by Puma Energy.

Press release