She overcame prejudice to ride sea waves

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Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain to work in field, and Founder and CEO at SJR Group.
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  • Her journey began in 2015 while working in the ports of Abu Dhabi as an administrative assistant
  • The captain explained that she is very passionate about her job and craves to learn new things like discovering the secrets of maritime navigation

Sahar Al Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain to work in field, and Founder and CEO at SJR Group, said that working behind the rudders of ships for long days, and challenging the waves of the sea requires a lot of determination and passion as well.

In an interview with the 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 stated that maritime navigation is diversified into various branches, and has proven its mettle, especially in confronting the coronavirus pandemic. She also emphasized that this sector needs constant learning and training.

Regarding the Emirati captain’s journey in the world of ships, she said that her journey began in 2015 while working in the ports of Abu Dhabi as an administrative assistant, and then moved to the role of coordinator of shipping services to be the first Emirati woman to touch on that area.

The captain explained that she is very passionate about her job and craves to learn new things like discovering the secrets of maritime navigation, the size of ships and how they float, and the art of command and marine laws.

When asked about the reasons behind joining the maritime navigation field, she said, “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 also commended the support of the country’s leadership and that of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and the “Mother of the Nation”, to Emirati women who were able to overcome challenges and prove their excellent capabilities in various fields.

She continued, “We are living in a country where the impossible is possible, and despite the coronavirus pandemic and its challenges, our country today hosts the largest global event in Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Regarding her challenges as a ship captain, 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.

About her inspiring experience, she said, “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 program for captains for ships under 24 meters and managed to sail for more than 1,300 hours within six months.

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