New mariners' environmental awareness certificate proposed –

New mariners’ environmental awareness certificate proposed Published:  13 November, 2007

Sandy Kerr

A EUROPEAN pilot project, designed to develop an International Marine Environment Certificate (IMEC) is to begin next spring, with the aim of launching an internationally recognised standard for environmental training in 2009.

The project involves partners in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Norway.

IMEC is an international initiative to develop a certified training programme in environmental awareness for mariners. This will establish an internationally recognised standard for environmental training.

Project Manager Lise Flø (from Rambøll Storvik in Norway) commented: “Current environmental training is both limited and inconsistent across Europe. Existing training tends to focus on meeting minimum standards and compliance with legislation. Little attempt is made to explain why environmental regulations are in place and how individual actions can make a difference.”

Shipping expert Professor Alf Baird (Napier University, Edinburgh) is confident that there is a market for IMEC. He said: “An internationally recognised certificate will not only allow shipping companies to demonstrate their commitment to cleaner seas, but also show investors and customers that they are taking active steps to minimise their environmental liabilities.”

Marine consultant Dr Gareth Davies (Aquatera Ltd, UK) added: “It is important that IMEC highlights good news stories, as well at areas for improvement. For example, maritime transport produces less CO2 per tonne of cargo than any other method of mass transportation and the sea provides a sustainable source of nutrition for millions of people around the world.”

According to Dr Sandy Kerr (ICIT, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh): “IMEC will be relevant to all mariners and provide a common baseline level of environmental knowledge for all mariners. We have been working with commercial shipping experts as well as fishermen’s organisations to develop this project.”

The pilot project is being funded by the European Union through the Leonardo Da Vinci programme. The aim of the pilot is to develop a web based, flexible learning material together with a certifiable test.

The pilot results, it is said, will help determine the form of the final IMEC product with a planned launched in 2009.

More information is available from Dr Sandy Kerr ( or at is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.