Maritime navigation requires passion: UAE’s first female ship captain

Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain, and founder and CEO at SJR Group, said that working behind the rudders of ships for long days, and challenging the waves of the ocean requires a special kind of determination and passion.

Speaking to Emirates News Agency (WAM), on the sidelines of her attendance at one of the Suez Canal Authority events at the pavilion of Egypt in Expo 2020 Dubai, Captain Al Rasti said that maritime navigation has diversified into various branches, and this sector needs constant learning and training.

Al Rasti’s journey began in 2015 while working in the ports of Abu Dhabi as an administrative assistant. She then moved to the role of coordinator of shipping services to be the first Emirati woman in that field.

Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain. — Wam
Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain. — Wam

The captain has always been curious about discovering the secrets of maritime navigation, the size of ships and how they float, and the art of command and marine laws.

Her reasons for joining shipping? “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 explained that, working long hours under the sun, through yearlong high humidity, heavy waves and other difficulties, taught her how a solid will, determination, persistence, and the possession of the necessary skills can help overcome any obstacle. She has been an inspiration to others, “I’m thankful that my experience inspired many girls, as more than 35 students have recently joined the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport,” she concluded.

Captain Al Rasti passed the qualification programme for captains for ships under 24 metres and managed to sail for more than 1,300 hours within six months.

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