Project Overview

Why MariLANG?

The shipping industry is a key component of the global economy, carrying nearly 90% of world trade. The industry is regulated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN specialised agency for maritime affairs. IMO is aware that over 80% of the reported accidents and incidents at sea and in ports are due to human errors (IMO, 2012, Horner, 2014) and over 30% of these accidents are due to linguistic and communications mistakes (Ziarati, 2006, Trekner, 2010).

Since its inception the IMO has recognized the importance of human resources for the development of the maritime industry. Following the adoption of the revised International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) in 2010 a number of IMO member states suggested that IMO should develop model training courses to assist with the implementation of the Convention.

Following this recommendation by the IMO member states in 2015 the IMO approved and published a revised 3.17 Maritime English Model Course. It interesting to note that in this new Model Course the IMO has adopted different language requirements for different types and rank of seafarers and has referred to the EU MarTEL and SeaTALK standards, which this project is also based upon. However the Model Course went further than the current MarTEL Standards by creating 3 new categories of seafarers requirement specific Maritime English Training:

  • Electro-Technical Officers,
  • GMDSS radio operators, and
  • Personnel providing direct service to passengers in passenger spaces on passenger ships.

This new model course and creation of 3 new seafarer categories requiring Maritime English training means adaptations and updates of existing academic programmes requiring alignment with the IMO-approved revisions.

IMO states that (http://www.marifuture.org/Reports/Development-Papers/IMO_New_Model_Course_Maritime_English.pdf) because educational systems and the cultural backgrounds of trainees in maritime subjects vary considerably from country to country, the model course material has been designed to identify the basic entry requirements and there are no mechanisms for controlling the variation of the output from such courses. To remove the acknowledged variation this proposal aims to develop a new set of assessment standards for the IMO’s revised Model Course 3.17 for Maritime English.

The new assessment standards will not only be in-line with the newly revised model course 3.17 Maritime English, but be linked with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and ECVET systems.

Setting common standards for assessment with training programmes directly linked to the CEFR, as well as being ECVET compliant, will ensure students and seafarers can learn and work throughout Europe, through the application of common content and assessment. This will help seafarers to be mobile, and have a greater access to job opportunities and career progression across Europe and the world. A number of studies (OECD, 2010, European Commission, 2011 and BIMCO, 2005, 2010), have demonstrated there is an imbalance of seafarers in different EU countries. With the language of the sea being English, this imbalance could be addressed through the development of a new set of assessment standards for Maritime English.

Project Objectives

  • Design of an assessment methodology to match IMO Model Course 3.17 and in-line with CEFR
  • Development of test specifications for test writers for the assessment standards as well as the design of a set of assessment criteria and scoring method and providing opportunity for pre-testing and analysis
  • Databank of Test Items
  • Design of new Maritime English training programme for new set of assessment standards in-line with the revised Model Course 3.17
  • Develop of an online platform for new Maritime English training and assessment programme in-line with the revised Model Course 3.17
  • Development of Rater training programme and training manual
  • Development of a grading framework and marking system