Why undertake the SeaTALK Project?
Shipping is a major industry carrying nearly 90% of world trade that depends on the competence of seafarers (Akdemir, 2011). The language of the sea is Maritime English (ME) and yet a review of IMO requirements for ME clearly indicates that there are no requirements for a formal qualification for ME. The IMO passes the responsibility for ME competency to ship operating companies. Furthermore, there are no IMO mechanisms to monitor the ME competence of seafarers. The existing English courses do not satisfy the requirements of ME and the seafaring professions competence requirements in English language.
It has been reported that the over 80% of accidents and incidents at sea are due to human error, according to IMO (2010) with one of main causes of accidents and incidents due to poor communications skills in ME (Ziarati, 2010). When you consider that the language of the sea is English, there is a need for a harmonised comprehensive framework for ME Education in terms of curricula, content, teaching, learning (including informal and non-formal learning), assessment of ECVET) system. and a European Credit transfer system for Vocational Education and Training (
In June 2010, major changes have been made to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of seafarers (STCW) in the form of an amendment (Yongxing, 2009, Ziarati, 2011). These changes to STCW led to a revision in the requirements for ME, and are the main reasons for developing a mechanism for an ECVET system for ME. The intention is to ensure this model meets the IMO requirements for ME, as well as cross-referencing it with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); the intention is to provide links to competencies and their descriptors.
Objectives of the SeaTALK Project:
- To establish a harmonised comprehensive framework for Maritime English Education and Training, where a standard approach to teaching, learning and assessment of qualifications throughout Europe is established for each type and rank of seafarers.
- To establish a Maritime English ECVET model for mutual recognition and transparency of and competences. The framework will take the IMO and EU requirements into consideration as well as incorporating the achieved outcomes of recent EU funded Maritime English research and development projects.
Target groups of the SeaTALK Project:
- Vocational education and training providers in Maritime VET centres who are offering Maritime Training programmes
- Maritime Universities offering MVET courses.
- Shipping companies providing cooperative training.
- Labour market authorities who are promoting employment possibilities on the sector and rely heavily on European workforce mobility and recognition.
- MVET associations and their members such as IMEC (International Maritime English Conference), IMLA (International Maritime Lecturers Association) and IAMU (International Association of Maritime Universities) etc.
- Decision makers on international, European, national, regional and local levels who are planning future policies for Maritime sector on different geographical and political level and are significantly influencing the Maritime industry development.