Captain Ioana breaks barriers as first female Marine Captain for SPA


Achievements of Samoa Ports Authority’s first female Marine Captain were acknowledged in a ceremony. Captain Ioana Paulo Avefua a 35-year-old mother of two from Puleia, has completed the assessment to become a marine captain.

She holds a Certificate IV in Master Class 5 from the National University Samoa’s School of Maritime. A special ceremony was held for this prestigious achievement, and it was presented in front of the Board of Directors, Management, Staff and Ioana’s family members.

Captain Ioana first started at the SPA in 2013 and climbed the latter over the years.

In his keynote address, the 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.

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

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

The SPA statement says Captain Ioana 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 our tugboats.

“Her journey was not easy as this is a male-dominated industry and surrounded by a competitive level as the only female in SPA’s Maritime Division.”

Avefua shared that she is committed to upholding the values of Integrity, excellence, and compassion that define our nation. She is honored for the trust bestowed on her and the love and support shown by her Maritime family and the Authority. She is excited and assured that she will lead diligently in serving Samoa and its people.

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