In October of last year the Shipping & Transport College of Rotterdam held the International Maritime English Conference. A key topic of debate was the IMO’s current review of the STCW Convention and its focus on global assessment goals for non-native english speakers. This is of particular concern considering the growing shortage of qualified mariners combined with the unusually high incident rate seen in recent months.
Clive Cole of World Maritime University and Peter Trenkner of Wismar University have proposed implementing a Yardstick “against which student performance can be measured while at the same time providing goals for the tasks and requirements of the seaboard ranks”. Here is the plan as laid out in their position paper:
When developing the Yardstick below the authors deliberately did not include the identification of Maritime English communication requirements of the different shipboard rating ranks, i.e. the STCW95 Support Level, but restricted themselves to the personnel covered by the STCW95 Operational and Management Level educated and trained at higher MET institutions.
The shipping industry, however, may wish to have a Yardstick available for shipboard rating ranks, too. In this case an appendix would need to be developed together with the industry as the Maritime English requirements set out in the STCW95 (Part A, Chapter II, Table A-II/4 and A-III/4) regarding ratings are comparatively vague and need to be considered in the review of STCW95.
Furthermore, requirements concerning general English language proficiency have not been included expressis verbis as in the authors’ understanding a certain command of general English is a basic prerequisite in this respect (cf IMO SMCP 2002).
Click HERE to download the full report.