Improving safety at sea and in ports by developing standards for maritime English.
Maritime English is the lingua franca of the shipping industry, used for communication between crew members, ship-to-ship communication, and communication with port authorities (Brüggemeier & Schulze, 2016). Clear and effective communication is critical to ensure safe navigation, prevent accidents, and respond to emergencies at sea and in ports. However, the use of English as a second language in the maritime industry has led to communication difficulties and misunderstandings, which can result in accidents and fatalities (Pikaar, Lingsma, & van Gulijk, 2014). Developing standards for Maritime English is essential to improving safety at sea and in ports. This research article examines the importance of Maritime English standards in the maritime industry and the efforts made to develop them.
Importance of Maritime English Standards in the Maritime Industry
The shipping industry is global, with ships traveling to different parts of the world, and the crew members come from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, English serves as a common language for communication. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recognized the need for a common language for communication and has established the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) to ensure that seafarers are adequately trained in Maritime English (IMO, 2017).
Clear communication is essential for safe navigation and operation of ships, especially in hazardous and congested areas. The crew members need to communicate effectively to prevent accidents, respond to emergencies, and comply with regulations. Misunderstandings due to language barriers can lead to accidents and fatalities (Pikaar et al., 2014). Therefore, developing standards for Maritime English is critical to ensuring safety at sea and in ports.
Efforts to Develop Maritime English Standards
The IMO has established guidelines and regulations for the training of seafarers in Maritime English, including the STCW Convention. The convention requires seafarers to demonstrate proficiency in Maritime English and sets standards for training and certification (IMO, 2017). The STCW Convention also specifies the minimum requirements for language proficiency in English and other languages for various positions on board, such as deck officers and engineers.
Despite the efforts to establish standards for Maritime English, there are still challenges in ensuring effective communication in the maritime industry. One of the challenges is the varying levels of English proficiency among crew members. While some crew members may have a high level of proficiency in English, others may have limited knowledge of the language. This diversity in language proficiency can lead to communication difficulties and misunderstandings.

Another challenge is the use of Maritime English as a lingua franca. Maritime English is different from standard English, and the language is used differently in the maritime context (Bloor & Bloor, 2018). For example, the use of shorthand and technical terms is prevalent in Maritime English, which can lead to confusion for non-native speakers.
To address these challenges, various initiatives have been undertaken to improve Maritime English standards. For example, the IMO has developed a Maritime English Training Manual to provide guidance to trainers and trainees in the industry. The manual covers various aspects of Maritime English, including pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills (Tsao, 2016). The manual also provides examples of common Maritime English phrases and their meanings to improve communication.
Furthermore, some countries have established language proficiency standards for seafarers. For instance, in Taiwan, the Maritime Port Bureau has implemented language proficiency requirements for seafarers. The bureau requires seafarers to demonstrate proficiency in Maritime English and Mandarin to obtain a certificate of competency (Tsao, 2016). Similarly, the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency has established language proficiency requirements for seafarers working in UK waters (Gollifer & Murray, 2019).
As such, developing standards for Maritime English is crucial to improving safety at sea and in ports. The shipping industry is global, and crew members come from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, a common language for communication is necessary to prevent accidents and respond to emergencies. However, the use of English as a second language in the maritime industry has led to communication difficulties and misunderstandings, which can result in accidents and fatalities. The IMO has established guidelines and regulations for the training of seafarers in Maritime English, including the STCW Convention. However, there are still challenges in ensuring effective communication in the maritime industry. Initiatives to improve Maritime English standards, such as the Maritime English Training Manual and language proficiency requirements, are essential to address these challenges.

References
Bloor, M., & Bloor, T. (2018). The pragmatics of international maritime English: Improving safety communication. Journal of Pragmatics, 127, 61-73.
Brüggemeier, B., & Schulze, M. (2016). Maritime English as a Lingua Franca in the Shipping Industry: Challenges and Implications for Safety and Security. In M. Kuteeva & A. Westin (Eds.), English as a Lingua Franca in the International University (pp. 151-170). Routledge.
Gollifer, S., & Murray, J. (2019). The role of language proficiency in maritime communication and safety. Maritime Policy & Management, 46(6), 735-750.
International Maritime Organization. (2019). Maritime safety committee, 101st session, agenda item 11.2: Development of guidelines on maritime cyber risk management. https://www.imo.org/en/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-on-Standards-of-Training,-Certification-and-Watchkeeping-for-Seafarers-(STCW).aspx
International Maritime Organization. (2017). International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). https://www.imo.org/en/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-on-Standards-of-Training,-Certification-and-Watchkeeping-for-Seafarers-(STCW).aspx
Pikaar, R. N., Lingsma, M., & van Gulijk, C. (2014). Developing a safety culture in the maritime industry: The role of maritime English. Safety Science, 63, 126-135.
Tsao, C. C. (2016). The implementation of STCW convention training requirements and maritime English in Taiwan. Maritime Policy & Management, 43(6), 697-711.

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