ISWAN asked to hear from women seafarers about their experiences. Female seafarers make up 2% of seafarers worldwide, and sometimes have the challenging task of dealing with gender stereotypes as well as the demanding life on board . We asked via Facebook and Twitter for stories, and Yasendy kindly agreed to tell us hers. If you want to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear experiences from seafarers everywhere.
"Hello, my name is Yasendy. I am from Colon, Panama and I am currently Chief Officer on a cruise line.
My fascination with the sea started when I was 15 years old, went traveled with a group of "Quinceañeras" (in English means fifteen-year-old girls), on board a cruise ship to celebrate our birthday. After that incredible voyage, I fell in love with the sea and cruise ships, so I stated that one day I would be back as a merchant officer.
When the time arrived to go to the university, I was decided and graduated successfully to start my career as Deck Officer. I had a great opportunity to work on tankers sailing in Argentina and met wonderful people that trained me during my cadet period. After that had joined the cruise ships and recently I was promoted to Chief Officer. Now I have a nine years career at sea.
The journey hasn't been easy; I have many difficult situations and challenges to overcome. Like everything in life, they are good and bad people, some that help you, but other that put your obstacles. All in all, there is always a positive lesson to learn, but one thing is that I love the sea. It makes me feel free, makes me feel like dolphins swimming to different destinations, and there is nothing more enjoyable than the view of the sunrise and sunset and the stars or moon while you are at sea. It is just perfect to admire the beautiful God´s creation.
If you follow your dreams, if you loved what you do; you would enjoy life and be happy.
I would like to advise young women never to give up and fight for your dreams; people will always try to choose what is the best for you, but you have to listen to your heart and do what you love not what other think is better for you. Follow your dreams and may you Captain Jesus to be your guide.
Thanks for collecting stories of women at sea. It makes me so proud to see other female colleagues succeed in this career."