My name is Fatouma Ali Ahmed, from Djibouti. I am working as the Head of Pilotage Department, and I am the first female marine pilot in the Port of Djibouti.
I am also a mother of 3-year old twins. I joined the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt in 2006. I was the first lady to join the maritime academy at that time with 14 men. It was an honor and a big responsibility.
I had to work twice as hard as the male students. I had to study English for six months preceding my maritime career, and successfully graduated my program in 2012. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Nautical Science and Certificate of Competency, and sailed as a second officer. I then joined the Marine Pilot Training Program in the Port of Djibouti.
As an Arabic female in the industry, one of the biggest challenges was finding a company with which to complete my sea time, meanwhile the men in the class already were at sea. I spent one and a half years at home waiting for a company that would accept me. My family and my friends even encouraged me to change fields, but I kept my faith and finally the Port Authority found P&O Maritime in Australia, a company willing to take me aboard to complete my sea time.” – Fatouma Ali Ahmed, Maritime Pilot, Djibouti