Female bridge officers will be recruited from a West African country for the first time through an initiative developed by Celebrity Cruises.

The line has created a cadet programme with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) in Ghana.

The first new crew member from the partnership, cadet Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, will be joining the bridge team on board Celebrity Equinox on August 27.

The partnership was forged after Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo met students from the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Florida International University.

She met Tifuh Azirh, who holds two degrees but struggled to find opportunities in the maritime industry.

Lutoff-Perlo said: “After hearing Nicholine’s story, I met with our senior vice president of global marine operations, Patrik Dahlgren, to see what we needed to do in order to give her, and others, the opportunities they’ve earned.

“A year later, I’m so excited to share the news of our partnership with RMU and to welcome Nicholine on board.

“Nicholine isn’t just a new-hire, she symbolises hope for women around the world who dream of working in a very male-dominated industry; she’s the face of our industry-leading partnership and she is an incredible example of Celebrity’s commitment to opening up the world.”

Dahlgren added: “The goal of our partnership with RMU is to inspire and disrupt the social norms that burden female officers in western African nations, such as Ghana.

“Nicholine is our pioneer cadet and a pioneer for women in her country; moving forward, we will continue to evaluate candidates and continue to push the envelope in developing a growth sector for marine officers in a part of the world that traditionally underserves female officers.”