State of policies and strategies for training, education and knowledge development

After the presentation of the Integrated European Maritime policy (European commission; 2007) many Member States started developing or altering their own national policy in order to remain competitive on an international level. Some of these policies are rather extensive and cover every aspect of the maritime sector. Others are limited to certain priorities which matter for the respective government of the Member State.

We aimed to investigate the state of policies and strategies with regard to training, education and knowledge development in particular. It focuses on governments’ involvement in maritime education and knowledge development and on the best practices within the European Union. A closer analysis will also be undertaken on the emergence of joint public-private efforts. 

In the first section we elaborated on the specific goal and scope of the output within the KNOWMe project. The methodology which consists of three parts is then explained. The first part of the methodology concerns the development of a list of strategies and initiatives in which we attempt to map the initiatives surrounding maritime education in Europe. The second part of the methodology consists of a questionnaire which was sent to maritime educational institutes. Finally the third part is an in depth web search for the national maritime policy documents.

The second section analyses the results of the three data sets obtained (web search, list of strategies and initiatives, questionnaire). Here we will elaborate further on best practices and governments’ involvement in these practices. Also, an insight will be provided into how the maritime training institutes view national and European policies.

In the following we summarises the main trends and developments in maritime policies in North-West Europe. We provide a short overview of maritime related policies.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands have a fully integrated maritime policy which can be found on the website of http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/ . As one of the more complete documents it takes all aspects of the maritime sector into account. The section which deals with education is concluded by specific action points entitled:

  • Takes actions to improve the inflow into the educational system
  • Tries to improve the image of the profession (in close cooperation with the private sector)
  • Keeping the quality of education on a high level (in cooperation with IMO)


Belgium does not have a full integrated maritime policy, especially none focusing on maritime education. There are some minor policy statements in existence made by the minister of transport in 2007 but they only deal with taxation, safety and general improvement measures for the Belgian flag. 


It is however noticeable that these indirect measures had a massive effect on the popularity of the Belgian flag and Nautical institutes

Denmark has published a recent document in 2010 named: integrated maritime strategy. It can be found on http://www.dma.dk, the website of the Danish Maritime Authority. Although it isn’t mentioned specifically in the document the European influences are clearly visible in this policy statement dealing with every aspect of the Danish maritime cluster. In the maritime training and competences part the government proposes to:

  • ensure that the maritime training programs continuously focus on quality and career opportunities
  • actively promote the creation of a “European Standard of Maritime Excellence”
  • ensure that, in cooperation with the maritime industries and the maritime training institutions, tools are developed to showcase, in terms of the maritime industries, the job opportunities and further training possibilities as well as the maritime graduates’ competences
  • strive to improve the possibilities for recruiting persons in the offshore sector who have passed a maritime training program
  • in the long term strive for more offshore training programs to be mutually recognized by the countries around the North Sea.


On the http://www.bmvbs.de site a small section is dedicated to the maritime policy in Germany. We couldn’t find a finished integrated maritime policy for Germany but found ‘Guidelines for a Maritime Development Plan within the context of an integrated German maritime policy’. These guidelines are also based on the Blue Paper of the European Commission. Objectives aimed at improving education include:

  • promoting the competitiveness of the Germany economy and making use of them for job creation
  • promoting maritime research and science in Germany
  • employment and training: building training capacities in maritime professions
  • Public relation campaigns (for e.g. the European Maritime Day)


Poland has outlined a ‘Basis for the Maritime Policy of the Republic of Poland until 2020’ based on the European Union Communication’. Prepared by the Ministry of Infrastructure it lists ‘Development of maritime education, science and marine and maritime research’ as one of the priorities of the policy.

 The document is extremely well prepared with over 7 action points focusing on ‘Development of education, science and maritime research’ another 4 action points deal with the ‘Creation of new fields and specialization of maritime study and finally 5 more about ‘Support and promotion of the development of maritime science, research and technology’.

This brings the total number of action points up to 16, the highest number of any Member State.

Website: www.cbss.org


The National Ocean Strategy of Portugal predates all European maritime policy documents. It is however a well-balanced document building on 3 ‘strategic pillars’ of which one is knowledge. Here the government promotes investment in research and calls for sectorial and intersectional policies for public and private investment in sea-related activities. Action and measures contain following maritime related inputs:

  • Investing in qualified human resources for science, technology and innovation
  • Highlighting the importance of the ocean in all its dimensions into the school curricula, encouraging nautical and naval education

Website: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/maritimeforum/system/files/National_Ocean_Strategy_Portugal_en.pdf


Although not officially part of the European Union it shares the coastline with the territory. As a comparison to the European Member States’ policies the Russian policy was also analyzed.

The main difference between this policy and the European ones is the emphasis on sovereign rights, fishing, exploitation of mineral and energy resources, improving scientific work and the naval activities.

No distinguishable references are made to knowledge development or maritime education.


Norway has created the ‘Steady as she goes’ Maritime strategy in 2007. Amongst 5 main areas dealing with challenges and objective Norway deals with ‘Maritime expertise’ and ‘Maritime research and innovation’. It is the only country which lists budgets and investment numbers in the maritime sector. With 12 initiatives in 2007 the action plan was one of the best and most practical of all investigated policies

Website: www.regjeringen.no


The Swedish government published a bill under the name of ‘A coherent Swedish maritime policy’. The focus is mainly on resource management, cooperation and stakeholder participation. The action points address environmental issues like NOx and SOX and wreck removal.

Website: www.regeringen.se


The UK Marine Policy Statement is created jointly by HM Government, Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government. Listed on http://www.defra.gov.uk it is a very extensive document addressing environmental planning, maritime planning, defense and national security, ports and all other aspects of the maritime cluster except maritime education and knowledge development.


The Government of the republic of Lithuania published a Resolution in 2008 based upon the European Commission Communiqué on the Integrated maritime policy. The direct goal of the program is to create a central area (or valley) for the development of Lithuania’s maritime sector. This is therefore not a real policy program but more of a project description benefitting the maritime industry in Lithuania. The main objectives relating to research and knowledge development are:

  • Creating a modern research infrastructure
  • Modernizing the university-level maritime studies
  • Create conditions for cooperation between maritime businesses and academic institutions
  • Increase the competitiveness of Lithuania’s marine science and maritime technologies


The Estonian maritime policy is only available in the native language so the following information in based on translations. In ‘Maritime policy development plan till 2020’ the Estonian government outlines the maritime strategy for the coming years with 5 priorities. One of these priorities is entitled ‘Estonian Maritime education and research and development, at a contemporary level’. Some action points described in this priority are:

  • Marine Education Concept Development and Implementation
  • Promotion of vocational Training
  • Promotion of higher Education
  • Enlarging interest by promoting education and training
  • Supporting maritime research


The maritime policy in Latvia is generated by the Latvian Maritime Administration is an organization providing planning and implementation of maritime policy in Latvia to achieve the aim – safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

We could find no clear policy document but the website http://www.jurasadministracija.lv/ states that the Latvian objectives are:

  • To promote safe and secure navigation off Latvian coast and in Latvian ports;
  • To promote safety and security of ships, crew and passengers;
  • To prevent pollution of sea;
  • To promote competitiveness of Latvian fleet in the world;
  • To promote competitiveness of Latvian seafarers in the world.


The insights in the Greek policy are based upon a paper by Alkis John Corres (2007). Greece divides the policies amongst 4 different sub-sectors. The ocean-going sector; the short-sea sector; the cruise sector ant the domestic ferries sector. Each sector has a specific approach but a couple of general objectives exist. Of these objectives 2 are interconnected to knowledge development namely:

  • Attraction of school leavers to the nautical profession
  • Running of the marine academies


No maritime policy found


No maritime policy found

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Institute of Transport and Maritime Management Antwerp at the University of Antwerp, Belguim


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