1. The existing standards on maritime English as laid down in the IMO Standard Marine Communications Phrases (1997), as well as in other current recommendations on the use of such standards, are of such a nature as to ensure, in combination with other factors of navigational safety, efficient communication at sea.
2. In terms of both content and form, the current maritime English standards, primarily those referring to voice maritime radiocommunications, meet the basic requirements on user-friendliness and the ease of use, while being at the same time appropriate to the needs of the most varied situations at sea today. They are also structured in order to meet future requirements.
3. These standards have been subject to almost a century long period of development, permanent improvement and continuous upgrading, building first on the earliest ITU recommendations on radiocommunications, encompassing later the basic concepts and terminology of the Collision Regulations, and integrating finally the requirements of a number of IMO conventions and other documents laying down, mainly implicitly, and in the case of the 1995 STCW Convention also explicitly, the standards on the form and use of maritime English for the safety of navigation.
4. However, minor improvements will be necessary, mainly in the domain of the naturalness of the linguistic form of standard phrases and user-friendliness of the text of SMCP. This also includes the necessity for a more accurate elaboration of the terminology (e.g. addition of terms and refinement of some definitions) in the Glossary. In this respect, a computerised version of SMCP, in the form of a textual database, accessible at any time to watchkeeping officers on board or to any station, i.e. on the bridge or at VTS operator stations, MRCC stations etc., might facilitate easy consulting, access and reference to SMCP and thus increase the degree of their user-friendliness.
5. The study on the standards and recommendations has unequivocally proved that the 1997 IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) now completely supersede the maritime English standards set forth in the IMO Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary (1977) and should be recommended for use by SAR authorities, VTS services, in GMDSS communications etc. It should be noted also that the SMCP standards heavily build on the language standards and practices developed in the SEASPEAK project now widely used in the process of training and certification of seafarers.
6. Above all, however, SMCP 1997 should be recommended for introduction into regular and specialized maritime English courses in maritime education and training establishments. For this purpose the IMO Model Course 1.24 - Maritime English) should be revised and drawn up accordingly, including also the necessary improvements on SEASPEAK, as one of the most appropriate courses for training SMCP.
7. Since real communications sometimes considerably differ from the recommended standards in SMNV and SMCP, further research should be undertaken into the nature of maritime English with respect to the changing speech communitiesboth on board (e.g. multi-purpose crews) and on shore. This should include discourse analysis and the study of pragmatic values of maritime communication.
8. The work on further improvement of the standards of maritime English to cover all aspects of maritime activities should continue, retaining however their basic role in ensuring unambiguous and effective communication for the purpose of safety. For this purpose legitimate recording of maritime communications and the study of post-accident transcripts will be required. Also, the creation and permanent maintenance of an on-line global computer-based maritime language database, under the guidance of the International Maritime Lecturers' Association (IMLA), may be most useful. This would enable comparable research into all aspects of maritime language communications. IMLA workshops seem to be an appropriate place for discussing the achievements and advances in such a project