On March 16, the first group of female maritime trainees boarded the “Yu Feng” ship and looked forward to a career at sea, a feature of Chinese maritime history that has all but disappeared.
“How could a woman control a maritime vessel?” Cao Huichang, captain of the “Yu Feng,” said with the aid of technology the job is now the same for men as it is for women.
He said that today the daily work of a vessel, such as piloting and scanning, seldom requires a sailor to use physical strength. So, no matter if a man or woman, the requirements are the same for the job. Some of the young women, who went on March 16, are following in their fathers’ footsteps.
According to Cao, there are almost no women sailors left in China. Once there were women captains and mates, but they are old now. So this first group, who are now being trained and still on probation in the ship, will be women captains in the future.
Xiao Xu, who has been working on the vessel for three years and is one of the drillmasters of the young women, said, “We welcome women to join our team. The atmosphere, the crew’s moods and character has been changed since they came to the vessel. Of course, women can do the job as well as men.”
It is not easy to be a sailor. They have to pass the entrance examination of a maritime university, at the same time passing strict physical check-ups, especially for eyes and height. According to the International Maritime Organization’s demand for navigation professionals, the university adopts military management to take care of the young trainees. Besides prescribed theory lessons, the university is available for the systematic training of students in psychological and physical health as well as foreign language training.
(China.org.cn by Wu Nanlan, March 24, 2003)