Working behind the rudders of ships for long days and challenging the waves of the sea demands a lot of commitment and enthusiasm, according to Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain to operate in the industry and the Founder and CEO of SJR Group.
Captain Al Rasti said marine navigation is diversified into numerous fields and has demonstrated its mettle, especially in battling the coronavirus epidemic, in an interview on the sidelines of one of the Suez Canal Authority events at the Egyptian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. She also emphasised the importance of continuing education and training in this field.
The Emirati captain’s adventure in the world of ships began in 2015, when she worked as an administrative assistant in Abu Dhabi’s ports, and subsequently progressed to the job of co-ordinator of maritime services, becoming the first Emirati woman to do so.
The captain added that she is very enthusiastic about her job and is always eager to learn new things, such as maritime navigation secrets, ship sizes and how they float, and the art of command and maritime rules.
When asked about the reasons behind joining the maritime navigation field, she said, “It was passion in the first place, and despite my parents’ reservations, my father believed in my professional abilities and encouraged me to continue and succeed.”
Al Rasti also praised the country’s leadership, particularly Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and the “Mother of the Nation,” for their support of Emirati women who were able to overcome obstacles and demonstrate their exceptional abilities in various fields.
She continued, “We are living in a country where the impossible is possible, and despite the coronavirus pandemic and its challenges, our country today hosts the largest global event in Expo 2020 Dubai.”
Working long hours under the sun, year after year, with high humidity, big waves, and other problems, Al Rasti noted, taught her how a strong will, perseverance, persistence, and the possession of the required skills can help overcome any difficulty.
“I’m thankful that my experience inspired many ladies,” she said of her motivating experience. “More than 35 students have just joined the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport,” she concluded.