Project Number 527662-LLP-1-2012-1-UK-LEONARDO-LMP
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
Marketing Text Vocational training qualification and certification related to Maritime English, although partially regulated by IMO, does not enjoy a common ECVET framework and this situation does not allow National Certification Authorities to establish a level for Maritime English training undertaken abroad, nor for qualifications acquired through non-formal and informal training. To approach the problem or demand situation described, SeaTalk aims to develop Maritime English Training Modules and an ECVET based model for mutual recognition and transparency of learning outcomes and competences in the Maritime English in Europe.
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 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 accident and incidents at sea are due to human error, according to IMO (2010) with one of main causes of accidents and incidents are 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 learning outcomes and a European Credit transfer system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) system. 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 study of EU Seafarers Employment by European Commission (2011) and BIMCO (2010), shows that there is notable imbalance of officers and ratings in different EU countries. As the language of the sea is English this imbalance could addressed and to this end, the content and standard of ME needs to developed and mutually recognised, which this project intends to address. The shortages and surpluses are expected either to remain or to grow in OECD countries in the next ten years with an indication that the surplus of Eastern Europe seafarers will increase during this period. European Seafarers will be able to take advantage of job opportunities and become more mobile through the proposed ME ECVET system for ME and to seek higher qualifications.
SeaTalk project aims to:
• Up-skilling advancement in the maritime industry, strengthen the maritime labour market by combating problems of poor communication at sea and imbalanced supply of sailors throughout European countries.
• Improving safety of passengers and the ships’ cargo by combating deficiencies of misunderstanding between crew and passengers.
• Creating a comprehensive framework enabling seafarers to undergo common Maritime English training and National Authorities to assess their qualification levels as well as the levels of training undertaken. This will facilitate workers mobility due to an easier and common qualifications recognition system in the EU.
• Creating a standard approach by combining the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) requirements for Maritime English (Training Modules), the highly successful MarTEL Phase tests and the creation of an ECVET system, which could allow National Authorities to recognise and assess such qualifications and levels in a standardised manner.
• Establishing the ME ECVET system to allow mutual recognition of seafarers’ Maritime English Competence within the Maritime industry directly linked to the CEFR of languages to promote greater mobility of seafarers’ workforce and in line with STCW requirements.
• Developing Maritime English Training Modules (linked to CEFR) to facilitate the training and learning of Maritime English. The combination of Training Modules consolidation and incorporation in the ECVET system will facilitate the mutual recognition of competences thus enhancing workers mobility.
• Promoting good practice in Maritime English education and training across Europe.
The project will allow the consortium to work towards these goals, which are in line with the ‘Europe 2020’ priorities. By improving the quality of Maritime English education and training, the project will make the European MET sector stronger, result in more competent trained seafarers. This may well contribute to a reduction in the number of accidents at sea and make the European shipping industry more competitive. During the recent Italy cruise ship Costa Concordia accident, poor communications between the crew and the passengers was evident. If a standard training and assessment approach is enabled, the communication ability of the crew would be higher and more effective in onboard communications.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Information and Communication
Transportation and Storage
program or curricula
material for open learning
transparency and certification
The project aims to create a harmonised comprehensive framework enabling seafarers to undergo common Maritime English training and National Authorities to assess their qualification levels. This will facilitate workers mobility due to an easier and common qualifications recognition system in the EU.
Innovative Characters of SeaTalk project are as follows:
1) This project will form a harmonised comprehensive framework for Maritime English Education and Training in Maritime industry. The aimed comprehensive framework will comprise the Maritime English Training Modules (WP3), the ECVET system (WP4) which will allow mutual recognition of seafarers’ Maritime English Competence within the Maritime industry, the consolidated learning materials (WP5) from previous successful projects on Maritime English learning and the well established Maritime Test for English Language (MarTEL) for each type and rank of seafarers. The ME ECVET based model would be the first time to provide a system for transparency of learning outcomes.
2) The Maritime English Training Modules and the ECVET competence grid will be linked to Common European Framework of reference for languages (CEFR). CEFR is a guideline to describe achievement of learners of foreign languages. It uses the best of the experience gained from TSE (Test of Spoken English), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOFEL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and many other related language tests. In this project, a specific ESP (English for Special Purposes)-related range of level descriptors will be developed for Maritime Industry specifically and will thus be used as a reference base for all the project products.
3) This project will also consolidate the Maritime English Learning Materials (WP5) to facilitate the teaching and learning of maritime English; it also aims to prepare the test takers for the Maritime Test of English Language (MarTEL) Phase Tests. The WP leader and the partners will first breakdown and analyze the learning materials designed from previous highly successful Leonardo da Vinci programmes (MarEng, MarEng Plus, MarTEL), databank and many other Maritime English textbooks. This will be of great benefit to Maritime English teacher, seafarers, and many other Maritime English amateurs. The brand new learning materials will be designed as an e-learning platform where many texts and teachers teaching manuals can also be downloaded for free.
4) The project will have an optional part to enable training to take part in a full mission simulator, so training in communication can take place in simulator in accidents and emergency situations. This will enable the seafarer to be more prepared for emergency situations. This is a new and novel use of the simulators, and provides the European seafarers with a competitive advantage. The reason that the simulator training is an optional part is some MET institutions don’t have full mission simulators.