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Harmonisation of European Maritime Education and Training Schemes

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

The objectives, systems, schemes, concepts and training methods of Maritime Education and Training (MET) vary considerably among Member States of the European Union. This variety, resulting from mainly historical reasons, has often led to an inefficient and ineffective use of human and financial resources and to a lack of integration of MET in national education and training systems. In turn, this has contributed to the declining interest of young people in a seafaring career. Development along these lines has not only affected the availability of a sufficient number of qualified seafarers for ships under flags of EU countries, but it has also had a negative impact on the provision of managerial personnel with shipboard experience for shore-based positions in the maritime industry. Furthermore, the considerable variety in European MET, hampers the mobility of seafarers within the countries of the EU.


METHAR aimed to contribute to the harmonisation of MET at a European level, by gathering the outcomes from the Concerted Action on Maritime Education and Training (CAMET) involving a wide range of international experts. The goal was to increase the competitiveness of the European maritime industry by improving the level of qualification of seafarers and other maritime personnel, and through a better provision of ship-board experienced personnel in the maritime industry, in order to achieve higher standards of safety, environmental protection and efficiency.

The main objectives of METHAR were to:

  • contribute to the development of harmonised syllabuses and their implementation, taking into account the use of modern teaching technologies;
  • identify needs for the adaptation of MET programmes to the requirements of the maritime industry, such as the growing use of advanced technology;
  • provide better understanding of the new STCW 95 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping) Convention, and suggest a harmonised approach to better meet its requirements;
  • enhance the employability and facilitate the professional mobility of MET graduates within the maritime industry and European countries.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


METHAR has produced:

  • recommendations to improve economic efficiency and competitiveness by concentrating the resources of MET institutions for all kinds of marine operations;
  • recommendations to foster mobility of seafarers by mutual recognition of certificates and (national) regulations;
  • proposals to improve the attractiveness of the maritime industry and its public image, concerning safety and environmental protection;
  • recommendations to raise awareness of technological progress - with IT being a driving force in shipping - in MET programmes and staff;
  • an analysis of the contributing factors for the declining interest in job careers in the maritime sector, with the recommendation of joint national efforts to reverse this trend and a proposal to study successful national approaches towards attracting young people to seafaring (e.g. in France, the Netherlands and Norway);
  • proposals for a bottom-up approach towards harmonisation of MET syllabuses, based on the requirements of the STCW 95 Convention;
  • recommendations to intensively use advanced simulators in MET schemes, and to increase the cost-effectiveness of MET;
  • recommendations for updating and enhancing the qualifications of maritime lecturers by a systematic approach, the promotion of international co-operation between lecturers, and through exchange programmes;
  • advice on the transition from ship to shore, as often desired by employees, through an enrichment of MET programmes with integrated and harmonised education and training elements on shipping and port operations.

Policy implications

The project's findings highlight the need for policies to improve MET for ships' officers, making MET more harmonised and more widely applicable. This should increase employment as a result of increased competitiveness through improved quality and innovation as well as extended mobility. In addition, METHAR should contribute to an increase in safety, environmental protection and efficiency of sea transport through overall improved Maritime Education and Training.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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