Maritime education

Shaping a seafarer


Shipping is a dynamic and international industry. Rapidly changing issues such as technological innovations, stricter environmental legislation and globalisation call for proper education and training of crews to guarantee and maintain safe operations.

The minimum requirements for maritime education courses have been set internationally by the IMO.

Maritime education

The decision-making process within the IMO about the minimum requirements for maritime education takes a lot of time. An outcome of this is that educational programmes may not be up to date with the latest developments.

A relevant example of this is the major impact that autonomous sailing will have on the global shipping industry. This development means that the role of crews who work on these ships needs to be re-evaluated.

The needs of the shipping industry must be a leading factor in discussions, rather than minimum international requirements. In this way, innovations and developments in the maritime sector can lead to the evolution of educational programmes. Regular consultations between the shipping industry and maritime academies will only contribute to this. The shipping industry can help the process by retraining teachers. And the government must act as a facilitator and stimulator in keeping maritime education focused on the future.

To accomplish this goal, the KVNR actively participates in various consultations at both the national and international level to put the needs of the industry in the spotlight. KVNR members contribute too, offering teachers' internships as well as providing relevant information during school visits.

Merchant apprenticeships

In their third year of studying at a maritime academy, students work as interns for a number of months. There are various rules relating to this, as shown below.

  1. Dutch students can work as interns on vessels of minimum 500GT/750 kW; under both Dutch and foreign flags; and on ships with international crews.
  2. Dutch apprentices can also work on vessels with no Dutch seafarers. In this case, it should be noted that text books are in English, and so will not pose any difficulties to on-board supervision or guidance.
  3. On Dutch-flagged vessels with keels laid on or after 1 August 2013, an apprentice may share a cabin with another apprentice or use a hospital cabin. In such cases, educational guidance is provided by an officer with a nautical or technical background.

The video below shows what it's like to work as a trainee engineer on a ship.