Sanette Robinson is the first female marine pilot to obtain an open licence at the Port of Cape Town. Photo: Supplied
Sanette Robinson is the first female marine pilot to obtain an open licence at the Port of Cape Town. Photo: Supplied

Sanette Robinson piloting the way for women in maritime industry

By Staff Writer Time of article published May 27, 2019

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Cape Town – Women are continuing to thrive in the previously male-dominated maritime industry as Sanette Robinson, the first female marine pilot to obtain an open licence at the Port of Cape Town, has shown.

Robinson, who started her career in 1995 in the South African Navy, where she served as a combat officer (watch-keeping officer) on various ships, has been hailed by the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) for her hard work, dedication, and “strong work ethic”.

“Robinson’s impressive maritime career serves as proof of her tenacity,” Transnet said.

Noted for being the first female marine pilot to obtain an open licence at the Port of Cape Town, Robinson is trained and certified to guide anything from the very smallest vessels to tankers (51260DW) and container ships (12000TEU) into port.

After serving as a combat officer, Robinson became the principal warfare officer on board the frigates before concluding her 12-year tenure in favour of joining the commercial industry.

After qualifying as a tug master in Port Elizabeth, Robinson went on to serve on the tugs until she was selected for pilot training in 2009.

She qualified in September 2010 and applied for a post at the Port of Cape Town, where she has been successfully piloting ever since. Her open/unrestricted licence was achieved in September 2015.

“Piloting is a dream come true. I love every aspect of the job and the challenges it presents but I’m very encouraged by the support from TNPA,” she said.

Last month, South Africa’s first and only female officer able to navigate a submarine, Lieutenant Gillian Malouw, said she was determined to progress in the skill to inspire others.

Malouw grew up in Port Elizabeth and said she had wanted to be in the navy from a very young age.

The 28-year-old said she was proud that she was able to accomplish what she had set out to do.

Historically, the maritime industry was known to be predominantly male-dominated. Transnet said bridging the gap between males and females was a priority.

Cape Town port manager Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana said: “I commend my female colleagues for joining me in changing the face of the shipping industry and for playing a huge part in contributing to the overall economic development of South Africa.”

Cape Times

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