The Maritime Education (MarEdu) Partnership ( was formed in 2005 to tackle maritime skill deficiencies based on IMO reports and recent research into skill deficiencies in Europe. The IMO has passed responsibility for the delivery and assessment of Merchant Navy education and training to member countries and does not take part, in any way, in the inspection, evaluation or delivery of these programmes (Ziarati, 2003). The reality is that the IMO cannot work alone. The EU, National governments, and related industries should all show the same determination to implement these standards. Furthermore, the majority of accidents at sea and in ports are reported to be mainly due to either disregard for rules or inadequate training and assessment (ibid). In fact, the EU has helped this situation by establishing EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) which has commenced monitoring the IMO standards for the training and certification of merchant navy personnel (STCW). National governments have also been active. The formation of the Maritime Industries Leadership Council (MILC) in the UK, and very similar to efforts in France, Italy and Germany, to name but a few, are reviewing the current well being of the maritime industry and planning for its future.

Regarding maritime education and training, previous research can be of immense help. The IMO report (MSC, 2006) identified three major deficiencies:

  • The STCW code sets the minimum requirements and not the desirable criteria
  • There are failures due to automation on board vessels
  • There is compelling evidence that deficiencies in English language competence is a cause for concern (Ziarati, 2006)

The IMO has also expressed concerns about shortages of seafarers (particularly officers) in the future. This has been substantiated by BIMCO/ISF (2005) and OECD (2003) reports. There have also been several research reports which have pointed out that while some countries are applying good practices, there are those that need support. Recently, a study by (Torkel, 2004) reported that 25% of the world fleet was responsible for more than 50% of shipping accidents around the world. The study noted that the top 25% of the safest ships were involved in just 7% of all accidents. The University of Technology and Science in Norway (cited in Ziarati, 2003), reports that by improving the quality of the world fleet to the same level as those in the safest 25% category, there might be an overall reduction of 72% in shipping accidents.

This research clearly indicated that it is possible to draw a map of the previous state of affairs and current situation with a view to visualise what is happening, and to develop a future map by identifying the deficiencies one by one. It is evident that there are opportunities to make safe practices accessible to all by forming partnerships and seeking support from industry and funding bodies (Koivisto, Uriasz and Ziarati, 2009). This may sound a tall order, but it is what exactly a group of maritime organisation did in 2005 by forming a partnership called MarEdu ( and transforming it into a pan European network of centres of excellence (MariFuture -

With increasing competition from eastern nations such as Japan and Korea, MariFuture believes that it is now more important than ever to harmonise the efforts of industrial, educational, and governmental maritime organisations across Europe in order to safeguard the wellbeing and competitiveness of our industry. Through the creation of collaborative partnerships involving universities, research centres, businesses, and stakeholders from all areas of the maritime transport sector, MariFuture works to ensure that all maritime industrial sectors (such as ship operators, ship builders, and support industries) are properly represented.

MariFuture's network of organisations have a wealth of experience in EU funded research and development in maritime education and training (MET). MariFuture aims to promote innovation in MET, underpinned by appropriate research and development activities, and provide a platform from which concerns and interests regarding education and training in the European maritime industry can be communicated and acted upon.

The extensive knowledge base generated by partnerships working on projects within the MariFuture platform has, and is expected to be, shared with the awarding, accrediting, and licensing bodies as well as policy decision makers in National governments and the European Union. The European Union has supported a number of MariFuture’s initiatives and research, and it is hoped that with their support MariFuture can continue to address the needs of MET within the maritime industry, and in turn become a key contact point for the EU regarding maritime issues.

MariFuture is about much more than academia within the maritime industry. As well as having strong ties with industrial bodies and large universities, MariFuture also has the support of many language schools and other smaller organisations whose voices are often left unheard. MariFuture is at the forefront of some very exciting research and developments in the MET field. As a collective group, MariFuture provides a platform from which the smaller organisations within industry can be heard in academia and in the EU. By providing a platform for these voices to be heard, valuable ideas and contributions can be harnessed and transformed into strategies that will give Europe a new competitive edge in the global shipping market.

The MariFuture platform currently includes over eighty member organisations, many of which are actively involved in European and EU funded projects. The network consists of a wide range of interested parties from all areas within the waterborne sector (progressive companies, universities, social partners, associations, awarding bodies, accrediting institutions, licensing authorities, government agencies, learnt societies, conferences, and individuals) and possesses the zest and energy to improve maritime education and training through a comprehensive programme of research and development. Projects and initiatives developed by partnerships within the MariFuture platform have been presented to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other important government, EU and industrial bodies.

The following is the list of recent/current projects followed by the list of new project commenced/commencing shortly:

MariFuture’s Recent/Current Projects:

  • EU Leonardo SOS (Safety on Sea) Project, TR/05/B/P/PP/178 001, 2005
  • EU Leonardo TRAIN 4Cs Mobility Project, TR/06/A/F/PL1-132, 2006
  • EU Leonardo E-GMDSS Project, SI/06/B/F/PP-176006, 2006
  • EU Leonardo MarTEL Project, UK/07/LLP-LdV/TOI-049, 2007
  • EU Leonardo TRAIN 4Cs – II Project, 2008-1-TR-LEO01-00681, 2008
  • EU Leonardo E-GMDSSVET Project, 142173-LLP-1-2008-1-SI
  • EU Leonardo EBDIG Project, UK/09/LLP-LdV/TOI-163_262, 2009
  • EU Leonardo MarEng Plus Project (Maritime English Programmes)
  • EU Leonardo M’Aider Project, 2009-1-NL1-LEO05-01624, 2009
  • EU Leonardo SURPASS Project 2009-1-TR1-LEO05-08652, 2009
  • EU Leonardo, UniMET Project, 511572-LLP-1-2010-1-UK-KA4-KA4MP
  • EU Leonardo MarTEL Plus, 2010-UK/10/LLP-LdV/TOI-342
  • EU Leonardo CAPTAINS, 2010-1-GR1-LEO 05-03956
  • EU Leonardo Sail Ahead, 2010-4447/ 001 – 001
  • Getafix, EU Leonardo Project, LdVP/11/102P
  • TRECVET, EU Leonardo Project, 2011-2315/001-001

MariFuture’s new and on-going projects

  • SeaTALK, EU Leonardo Project, 2012-5522/ 001 – 001
  • EBDIG -Wind Farm Support Vessels, Leonardo Transfer of Innovation funded projects October 2013-September 2015
  • ACTs – Avoiding Collisions aT Sea, Leonardo Transfer of Innovation funded projects, November 2013 – October 2015
  • S.O.S – Stress on Ships, Leonardo Transfer of Innovation funded projects, November 2013 – May 2015

MariFuture will continue the work of these partnerships, and develop a map for the future of MET. These are real projects, which have all been secured through hard work against tough competition. The MariFuture members are willing to continue their good work and have constructed this pan-European network to realise this future map. The network is expected to be involved in a continuous programme of research and development in the future.

These are real projects all secured through hard work against tough competition. The MariFuture members are willing to continue their good work and have proposed this proposal to realise the future map. The network is expected to be involved in a countinuous programme of research and development and hence the reason for applying for funding.

MariFuture Maps

This map launched as MarEdu ( in 2005:

MariFuture Previous State - Map MariFuture Previous State - Map
  1. Accidents and incidents due human factors are increasing (Ziarati, 2006, 2007)
    Accidents and incidents due automation factors increasing (IMO/MSC, MCA, 2006)
  2. Manning On Board Vessel vs. Concerns (ILO, 2008)

Actions taken by MariFuture partners 2005-2010:

  1. dentification of STCW deficiencies and development of complete programmes for Marine Engineering Officers and Deck Officers, which are recognised worldwide and developed in collaboration with leading national and European awarding accrediting and licensing authorities.
    Projects developed:
    • EU funded SOS programmes (2005-07)
    • EU funded TRAIN 4Cs I and II (2008-2010)
  2. Review of accidents and incidents at sea due to automation failures. The maritime industry continues to express concerns about engine stops (SAS, 2010). Development of an E-learning course in automation.
    Project developed:
    • EU funded SURPASS (2009-10)
  3. Concerns about communications failures (IMO MSC, MCA, 2006, Ziarati, 2006) Development of standards for maritime English.
    Project developed:
    • EU funded MarTEL (2007-09)
  4. IMO and industry's concerns (Ziarati, 2007) about emergency situations. Development of an e-learning course in emergency situations.
    Project developed:
    • EU funded M'aider (2009-11)
  5. EU's and industry's interest in the development of e-learning as a means of updating the skills of seafarers.
    Projects developed:
    • EU funded EGMDSS generic e-learning platform (2006-08)
    • EU funded EGMDSS-VET e-learning platform (2008-10)

MariFuture Current Projects

MariFuture Current State - Map MariFuture Current State - Map

MariFuture Future Projects

MariFuture Future State - Map MariFuture Future State - Map

Summary Actions:

Immediate Action
The development of the MariFuture Platform, the continued implementation of planned developments, and the successful completion of current and new projects.

Short Term Challenges
The implementation of IMO STCW revisions (Manila 2010). Making provisions for improved on board conditions and manning of ships.

Medium/Long Term Challenges
Addressing Officer shortages, and improving opportunities for Ratings. Implementing technology developments to reduce accidents at sea.