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SPA honours Samoa’s First Female Marine Captain

SPA Press Release

Apia, Samoa – 06 September, 2023. The Samoa Ports Authority has honoured one of its employees, Mrs. Ioana Paulo Avefua in recognition of her great achievement as the first female Marine captain in Samoa.

The 35-year-old mother of two from Puleia, Savaii, has completed assessment to become a marine captain. She holds a Certificate IV in Master Class 5 from the National University Samoa’s Maritime School.

Ioana Paulo’s prestigious achievement was presented in front of the Board of Directors, Management, Staff and Ioana’s family members.

Chairman of the SPA Board of Directors, Afioga Tuiloma Neroni Slade, congratulated Mrs. Avefua on behalf of SPA, for her continuous determination and perseverance that has reached this great milestone.

“This is a very monumental day marking a story of determination and perseverance. Empowering women and proud historical development for SPA, Capt. Ioana has concentrated on the core values, pushing herself, breaking barriers, prospering equality and embracing the diversity amongst all of us” says Chairman Tuiloma Slade.

“Captain Ioana, Malo, faafetai ta’imua, ia manuia lou alo atu i lenei galuega ma tofiga taua. Alofagia e le Atua lau galuega ma lou tomai,” Tuiloma concludes.

The remarkable award not only serves as a testament of determination and commitment but also has set a valuable empowerment for women.

Female captain with SPA Board
Female captain with SPA Board

Captain Ioana Paulo Avefua with her dad on her right and the SPA Board of Directors and Executive Management.

“I stand here not as a Captain but as a symbol of unlimited potential that exist in each and every one of us; breaking barriers, status quo and stereotypes and proving that gender is not a limitation. The sky is not the limit, it is only the beginning of our journey,” said Ioana Paulo Avefua.

She has shown great determination in her work, and continues to pave her career as the first female marine captain in Samoa who will be piloting SPA’s tugboats. Her journey was not easy as this is a male dominant industry and surrounded by a competitive level as the only female in SPA’s Maritime Division.

Ioana Paulo Avefua shared that she is committed to upholding the values of Integrity, excellence and compassion that define our nation. She is honoured for the trust bestowed on her and the love and support shown by not only her Maritime family but the Authority as well. She is excited and assured that she will lead with dedication in serving Samoa and its people.

Mrs. Avefua started her career with SPA on 1st July 2013, when she was appointed as an Able Bodied Seaman. She became a marine captain trainee in 2018, and in July, promoted to the position of Pilot Trainee.

Female captain with SPA sta
Female captain with SPA sta

Captain Ioana Paulo Avefua – a symbol of the empowerment of women, with female staff of the  Samoa Ports Authority.