SEAFARING officers in Papua New Guinea are being hired by companies as soon as they graduate from their cadetships.

Officers of the Watch graduates of the Deck and Engine cadetship programs of Pacific Towing (PacTow) and Consort Express Lines (Consort) have found employment within one month of their graduation.

The Coastal Shipowners Association said PNG was experiencing a shortage of maritime professionals, in particular junior and senior officers.  

“This is why cadetship programs are so important, because they produce new seafaring professionals not only for the companies that develop and run them but for PNG’s broader maritime sector,” said PacTow general manager Neil Papenfus.

PacTow’s Women in Maritime program has produced new officers who have gone on to work for multiple maritime organisations.

Graduating officers of the watch (deck and engine) have secured employment with program partner Consort, as well as with Kute Shipping, Lutheran Shipping, P&O, TWL and YWAM Medical Ships.

Eunice Tuwe graduated from the Women in Maritime program in December and was recruited almost immediately.  

Ms Tuwe is now working for PNG’s biggest coastal shipping company, Consort. 

She also completed some of her practical at sea training on Consort vessels.

“It’s been my dream to work at sea,” Ms Tuwe said. 

“I’m grateful to lots of people who’ve helped this dream come true. My family, my lecturers at PNGMC, various members of crew, PacTow, Aus Awards, and of course Consort. 

“I’m also very proud to join the other women who graduated before me who are helping build a bigger and better maritime industry in PNG.”

Also growing and strengthening PNG’s maritime industry are 31 Officers of the Watch who have come through Consort’s cadetship program which was launched in 2020.  

Consort has employed 12 of their program’s graduates with the remainder taking up a range of opportunities with other PNG shippers. 

One of PacTow’s most lauded graduates from another of its programs is tug master Emmanuel Simoi. 

Within two and a half years of completing his training, Mr Simoi was awarded the command of PacTow’s Azimuth Stern Drive tugs Werra and has been charged with assisting super-sized suezmax fuel tankers in Port Moresby’s Fairfax Harbour.

“The shortage of seafaring professionals in PNG is being compounded by an upswing in demand for them,” Consort general manager Antony Riley said.

“Businesses, particularly those linked to major developments such as the Papua LNG project need more vessels – especially for project cargo – and these vessels require more seafarers. As such, our home-grown cadets and the programmes that produce them have never been more important.”

Together, Consort and PacTow have offered young Papua New Guineans a further 20 maritime cadetship scholarships in 2024. 

Gulf Maritime Services, a new joint venture between Steamships, GFS, and the gulf provincial government, have also announced they too will be offering cadetships.