Emirati woman earns first marine certification

Abu Dhabi Ports says Sahar Rasti first UAE woman to complete training for operating, managing aids to navigation


Sahar Rasti has earned one of the highest international certifications in navigational standards. Image Credit: Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Ports

Abu Dhabi: An Emirati woman who works for Abu Dhabi Ports has navigated her way into the UAE maritime history books.

Sahar Rasti, navigation services coordinator for marine firm Safeen — an operating unit of Abu Dhabi Ports — has earned one of the highest international certifications in navigational standards, Abu Dhabi Ports announced on Sunday.

Marine authorities said Rasti is the first Emirati woman to complete training certification related to operating and managing aids to navigation, a critical role in ensuring safety in Abu Dhabi’s shipping industry.

Rasti completed what is called Level-2 certification awarded by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

“I am extremely honoured to be the first woman to work in Safeen at Abu Dhabi Ports and the first to receive the IALA Level-2 certification in the UAE,” Rasti said in a statement on Sunday. “Maritime is a sector commonly known to be dominated by men and it gives me great pride to demonstrate that women in the UAE are fully capable of not only working but excelling in any field with the support of our leadership.”

Rasti’s responsibilities and those of her colleagues are large considering that Safeen’s navigation department manages 1,198 buoys and beacons over 52 channels and waterways, covering a span of 472 kilometres across Abu Dhabi.

The IALA global organisation, known for maintaining shipping channels around the world, said in its 2015 annual report that it brings together “marine aids to navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants and scientific and training institutes from across the globe to exchange and compare experiences and knowledge for the improvement and harmonisation of navigation services worldwide”.

Abu Dhabi Ports is now one of nine organisations, and the first of its kind in the UAE, accredited by IALA, said port authorities.

The recent training assimilation in Safeen was evaluated via written and oral examinations conducted by IALA accredited instructor, Captain Abdul Aziz Al Hammadi, senior navigation service manager at Safeen.

Abu Dhabi Ports plans to offer this professionally accredited course to entities that provide maritime and offshore services.

Witnessing Rasti’s certification was “particularly rewarding”, Al Hammadi said.

Maktoum Al Houqani, chief marine services officer of Safeen, said: “We are the first in the region to offer this course, which goes to show our keen commitment to training and developing qualified staff at Safeen, in line with international maritime standards, to ensure best value for our clients.”

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