2020 brought a lot of challenges and a lot of changes to the way we all work.

Despite the difficulties brought by the global pandemic, we at Marlins continued to help our clients and seafarers by providing assessment, learning and training services.

In 2020, we were delighted to add 7 new Marlins Approved Test Centres to our Approved Test Centre network bringing the total number up to 207 in 48 countries.

This year, we have already added an additional 2 Marlins Approved Test Centres located in Italy. Both centres are open and ready to offer Marlins English language tests to external candidates. We would like to congratulate both companies on their approval status and give you a brief introduction to them:

  1. Centro Inizativa Democratica degli insegnanti dell’isola d’Ischia – Located in on the island of Ischia, near Naples. http://www.ischiacidi.it/

CIDI are now able to offer Marlins English Language Tests for Seafarers, Cruise Ship Staff and Offshore workers.

  1. Maritime Training Center SAS– Located in Torre del Greco, Naples https://www.formazionemarittima.it/

Maritime Training Center SAS offers Marlins English Language Test for Seafarers, Cruise Ship Staff and Offshore workers and also Marlins STCW UK MCA Approved Assessments.

Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, we are delighted we can still support seafarers to take their Marlins assessments  in new locations.

A full list of all Marlins Approved Test Centres and their full locations can be found on our website – https://marlins.co.uk/approved-test-centres/ .

Please contact us if you have any queries about the Marlins Approved Test Centre scheme: info@marlins.co.uk .

Around the world, the general public is on lockdown and people are working out new routines for how to keep fit and healthy within our homes. Maybe we could all learn from seafarers who spend months on board ships and have to maintain a healthy lifestyle at sea, often in very demanding conditions.

As today is World Health Day, it’s a fitting time to reflect on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle: whether you are a seafarer working on board or a non-seafarer – there has never been a more important time to keep healthy!

It is well recognised that without a healthy routine in place, it is difficult to maintain physical and mental wellbeing but the good news is that by making a few adjustments to your routines and taking charge of your own wellbeing you can start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Whether working at sea or adjusting to working at home, it is important, where possible, to try and stick to a routine, taking care of these essentials:

Eat and drink healthily




  1. Eat & drink healthily.

A healthy, balanced diet promotes a strong immune system and can help prevent illnesses. Be aware of your calorie intake which should take into account your daily activity, age, gender and height. Also be aware of your salt intake as too much salt can raise your blood pressure and lead to serious medical conditions. The recommended maximum intake is 6g a day including salt that occurs naturally in products.

Ensure you keep hydrated: the recommended amount is 6-8 glasses of water a day, adjusting this to suit your personal needs depending on your level of exertion, the climate or the temperature you work in. On the subject of drink, be careful of your alcohol consumption. We drink to relax, to enhance our mood or even sometimes to forget. However, these benefits are short lived, and alcohol can have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Whether you are working on board or working from home, the temptation may be to drink more – but maintaining drink-free days will help you stay healthy.

More information is available on the WHO guidelines ‘recommendations for healthy eating’ click here to read more, and ‘Drinking guidelines: General Population’  by IARD, which you can access here.

  1. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise not only keeps you physically fit, but can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. When exercising, your body releases endorphins, hormones that are responsible for reducing stress and improving your mood, this means you will not only improve your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing as well.

There are many exercise programmes to choose from that are designed to help you keep fit on board that you can also continue at home. Work out a routine that suits you and your daily routine: the important thing is to create a habit of training and be consistent with it.

  1. Socialise.

It is not uncommon for seafarers to isolate themselves from others on board and spend their free time in their cabin. Whilst sometimes it is nice to have a bit of peace and quiet, it is just as important that you take time to talk to friends, family and colleagues. Making friends and having trusted people around to talk and confide in helps to maintain a positive mind set which leads to better mental health.

Seafarers and people at home are in the same boat: we also need to make a conscious effort to maintain social contact and friendships safely, while adhering to social distancing measures.

  1. Remember to rest.

Our final tip is the importance of good quality rest.  Having a 5 minute break from a task or taking a few minutes out to get some fresh air can often be enough to help de-stress you.  Sleep also plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing. Whilst not always easy, getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Here are some tips that may help improve your sleep:

  • Don’t drink caffeine late in the day
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before going to bed
  • Try and keep your cabin or bedroom at an optimum temperature
  • Keep your cabin or bedroom as dark as possible
  • Try and get into a wind-down routine before sleep: a shower, read a book, listen to soothing music.
  • Avoid using smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices before going to bed

Here at Marlins, we are aware of how challenging work on board can sometimes be and how taking care of your physical and mental health requires continuous effort. To support the seafaring community, whether at sea or on shore, we have developed a range of Crew Wellbeing titles.

These titles are designed to provide you with information and techniques that can help you maintain a healthy and physical lifestyle.

For more information you can visit the Marlins shop at by clicking in this link.

or contact us at info@marlins.co.uk

Stay healthy everybody.

The team at Marlins would like to express our immense respect and gratitude to all seafarers around the world who through their hard work and continued resolve are keeping vital supply lines open around the globe during these unprecedented times.

Being separated from family and friends for long periods is nothing new but in these times of uncertainty and concern even the most robust seafarers  are challenged. It’s at times like these that  people’s mental health and wellbeing is most at risk.

Keeping an optimistic and positive view is not easy, which is why Marlins is offering all seafarers free access to the following module from our Resilience Programme – “Keep Things in Perspective”

The complete Resilience Programme is made up of 10 short modules designed to provide seafarers with long-term tools to cope with the stresses caused by the work and life pressures they may face.

If you would like to receive free access to the Keep Things in Perspective course, please email us at  info@marlins.co.uk and request your free licence. Please share  this information with your colleagues, who may also benefit from the course. The deadline for submissions is 31st May 2020.

These are challenging times for us all but we would like to reassure all seafarers, customers, Marlins Approved Test Centres and the global shipping community that we will continue to support you.

We can produce bespoke elearning content, turning your existing classroom training materials into elearning for example. We also offer  our full catalogue of flexible elearning and online assessments.

From everyone at Marlins, we wish your seafarers safe sailing and good mental and physical health for you and your loved ones.

For further news and updates on the current COVID-19 situation, please visit: https://vgrouplimited.com/covid-19-news.




Bermuda Shipping & Maritime Authority

We are pleased to announce that the Bermuda Maritime and Shipping Authority (BMSA) have recently confirmed their approval of the Marlins range of STCW training courses.

Customer Experience Manager, Frank Corrales, explains: “These approvals are significant to Marlins as the Bermuda Maritime and Shipping Authority are globally recognised as a high-quality shipping registry. It became clear early in our discussions that we share the same vision: to provide learning opportunities to all seafarers globally that will help to enhance their knowledge and keep them safe.”

Francis Richardson, CEO of the BMSA, added “I look forward to building and strengthening our relationship with the common goal of providing educational and learning options for the industry’s most valuable resource, the seafarer.”

By forming such partnerships with flag administrations and industry bodies, Marlins continues to enhance its reputation as global leaders in maritime elearning, training and English language testing.

The STCW courses approved include:

  • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • Maritime Security Awareness
  • Crisis Management and Human Behaviour
  • Crowd Management


Marlins STCW Security Courses vary according to:

  • the type of ship you work on
  • the Flag Approval you or your employer needs
  • your responsibilities on board.

If you are not sure which course to take, you should check with your company before continuing.

If you purchase the UK MCA approved course, you will only buy the STCW training course, not the assessment. You will receive a unique ‘Proof of Study Receipt’ to show you have taken the course. Then you must travel to a Marlins Approved Test Centre to take the STCW Security assessment under exam conditions. You may also need to pay a separate fee to the Approved Test Centre to take the assessment. Visit our website to learn more about our range of flag approved STCW elearning and to purchase directly online: Marlins shop

If you purchase the Isle of Man or Liberia Flag approved course, you can sit the final assessment online immediately after studying the material. This is included in the cost. You do not need to visit a Marlins Approved Test Centre.

You can check which flag states will accept this course by visiting this link. For example, you can see that the Cayman Islands have formally recognised this course.

Happy International Women’s Day to all seafarers, clients and colleagues worldwide. At Marlins we believe this day is not about women only, it’s about diversity and how we work together effectively as a team.

With only 2% of seafarers being women, we interviewed two inspirational female seafarers currently working on board a V.Ships vessel to hear whether life at sea is changing for women and asked for their insights into seafaring as a career path for more women.

In requesting this interview, the response from both the Captain Javellana and her Fleet Manager was “it would be more interesting to ask our male counterparts about their experience of having women on board, both from men at sea and ashore”. We would love to hear your views on working with female crew members on board.

Our thanks go to Captain Maria Jovellana and 4 Engineer Julebie Ornopia Morales, the two seafarers who sent us their insights:

Tell us who and what inspired you both to pursue a career as a Captain and as a 4th Engineer?

Maria: When I was a child, I always dreamed of becoming an astronaut but realised that my family wouldn’t be able to afford the education. Then one day, a group of smart young cadets visited our school and introduced us to the Maritime Academy of Asia Pacific (MAAP) and told us about their experience of becoming seafarers: that’s what inspired me at first. The education was free but aside from this, I knew in my heart that this kind of job would suit my personality well.

What continuously inspires and motivates me to pursue my career as a Captain are my family and simply that I love what I do. Inspiring and leading people, managing, overcoming challenging responsibilities and mostly the experience, not just learning from it but growing myself in so many aspects. A seafaring career doesn’t stop at you being a Captain, you continue to grow outside this role. The road to becoming a Captain is not easy but I would say I was lucky enough to have a strong moral support from my family and best friends.

Julebie: It was my sister (currently a 2 Engineer on board one of the Maersk Line vessels) who inspired me to pursue this career. Although, I am married now and have two kids, that doesn’t stop me from pursuing my goal to become a Chief Engineer. I am just lucky to have a very supportive family who embraces our life at sea as well.

Maria, you are the first female Captain from the Philippines, an amazing achievement. Have you managed to inspire other women to embark on careers at sea and how?

Maria: Thanks, but I never think of that: being the first is always an amazing achievement but more than that, I want to be recognised as a Master.

Yes, I continuously aim to inspire not just other women but also young men and women from around the world to embark on careers at sea. I love to teach, although it requires long patience but when I see that my students or colleagues are progressing well or even better than me, it’s a very satisfying feeling. I believe in the power of coaching and mentoring because I, myself was a product of it. It does not matter which nationality or where the mentor comes from, just having that opportunity is a lifetime gift.

There are a lot of women seafarer organisations around the world like our Women Seafarers Group where most activities and training include only women, led by our successful mentors or seniors who have made it to the top. Although this creates a strong cohesion for all women in maritime at the same it limits our interaction and acceptance of the full responsibility and reality of the shipping Industry – men also need to be part of the conversation around diversity. We are all called Seafarers with no gender preference regarding competence and proficiency.

Julebie, how about you? Have you managed to inspire other women to embark on careers at sea and how?

Julebie: Yes, I am a part of an organisation where we share our experiences on board with our fellow women seafarers that are about to start or just starting their careers at sea. From this, we learn from and motivate each other.

Maria, your current crew includes Julebie Morales, a female 4th engineer officer: what advice do you have for her and to young women considering a career in the shipping industry?

Maria: Firstly, they have to be true to themselves. They have to be sure that they would love this career, not just as an ordinary career path but rather as a choice that comes from the heart. They have to be ready at all times, not just theoretically but mentally and emotionally otherwise, a simple hardship/challenge can lure you away from this path.

We used to think about setting our goals in a SMART way but I have learned and wanted to share that the way to achieve our goals without exhausting ourselves is to do it with HEART:

H – Honest – make sure the goal is right for you and that you choose it yourself, that it is not imposed by someone else. It should be consistent with your other ambitions in life.

E – Exact – this means what exactly do we need in order to achieve our goals and work our way there?

A – Authentic – it should be consistent with your values and beliefs or aligned with your strengths and unique gifts

R – Realistic – it should be in line with your other obligations: do you have time, energy and motivation to complete this goal?

T – Timely- make a deadline for your goal – how long will each step take?

Julebie, what advice do you have for young women considering a career in the shipping industry

Julebie: I was one of the scholars of Marin Shipping (Dutch Company) with mainly tanker ships. The challenges of being an engineer onboard is that you have to be strong not just physically but emotionally and mentally considering that technical jobs require hard work and you have be a constant solution-seeker.

You just have to LOVE your work, so at the end of the day, no matter how hard life on board is, it will not matter at all. And for those women who are married or have kids, don’t stop pursuing your dreams, provided that you have a supportive family who will back you up.

Maria, you are not only a Master, you are also passionate about delivering chemical tanker training: what makes for a great trainer of seafarers?

Maria: Yes, I am so passionate about training because I wanted to impart not just my knowledge and skills but also the quality of experience which I had both on board and ashore. Learning in four corners of the room is good, learning from others’ experience is better, but learning from doing it yourself is the best. As trainers and mentors, we have to walk the talk. Students will learn best from their instructor if the instructor is still active in sailing – the learning is both ways….

What is missing from seafarer training today?

Maria: HEART. I guess, most seafarers just do the training because it is mandatory but a small percentage volunteer themselves to be trained. Most training is shore-based which takes away a lot of seafarers’ time when they should be with their families or loved ones. I don’t see too many companies like SeaTec Safety Services and Marlins nor too many owners that support the training-onboard program these days.

Julebie: APPLICATION. Most of the seafarers who take their training ashore do not apply it effectively when they are on board. Either the training is not effective or the seafarer is not paying attention when doing the training courses.

It is International Women’s Day. This year they have used the slogan #EachforEqual. Is equality still an issue in your day-to-day working lives at sea?

Maria: Currently on board, equality is not an issue – we are just lucky to work for both a ship owner and for V.Ships as a ship manager who support a complement of men and women on board their vessels. This requires a continuous focus on maintaining good morale and responsibility onboard and ashore.

Life in general, at times is not fair and equal but at least we are doing something to change it.

Julebie: It is my first time on board this vessel which is managed by V.Ships but I would say, I am lucky to be board on this vessel which promotes gender equality and diversity.

Are you a male seafarer with experience of working with female crew members on board? We would love to hear your views too.

A life at sea offers unique opportunities but can also be challenging and unpredictable, requiring seafarers to possess physical and mental stamina. Training is essential to equip new and experienced seafarers with the tools they need for life at sea. Catherine Logie, Business Development Director for Training Services at Marlins – a leader in the provision of training solutions for the maritime sector – explains how the right training can help mitigate the challenges of life on board.

“A seafaring career is demanding, there’s no doubt about it,” says Catherine. “But for many it is rewarding and can lead on to diverse maritime career opportunities. Therefore, when we train seafarers, we also influence future generations of maritime managers and specialists. We currently have a pool of over 40,000 seafarers including cruise hotel personnel working in V.Ships, coming from all over the world including the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Europe, Brazil and many other regions. Marlins partners with more than 400 companies around the world on training and assessment solutions: with over 25 years’ experience in the industry, we have a truly global perspective on the training needs of seafarers.”

Marlins works with recruiters on the assessment tools they need to select high calibre seafarers. Training starts as soon as seafarers are employed and continues throughout their careers: “Throughout our training, we put a lot of emphasis on seafarer safety and wellbeing,” Catherine explains. “We specialise in integrated training solutions that ensure seafarers are fully equipped, operationally, mentally and emotionally.

“Interpersonal, cultural, language, communication and leadership skills are not traditional areas for seafarer training programmes, however, at Marlins, we have long recognised that these skills are essential for teamwork. Like all skills, they can be trained and practised. When you have efficient teams of well trained, healthy seafarers, supported by strong company values and policies, seafarers can be more focused, motivated and vigilant and are likely to make better decisions in challenging operational situations.”

Marlins’ investment in wellbeing training includes holistic learning programmes on topics such as resilience, cultural awareness, social isolation and stress management. PTSD, diversity and inclusion, and dignity at work are also training areas developed by Marlins. “We believe that training is an important part of the wider movement to improve quality of life for seafarers. If you are being bullied on board, if you feel anxious, depressed or isolated, then training can help by raising awareness of these complex human issues which are sometimes taboo or simply hard to talk about. Through training, we can provide clear guidance for seafarers and cruise hotel personnel on how to manage themselves and others.

How we deliver training is underpinned by listening to clients’ needs and the desired outcomes. We can tailor programmes using a blend of crew seminars, on board training, shore based or online simulator training, instructor-led training, elearning, video, VR, workshops, collaboration tools – however, our view is that the delivery medium is not the focus, it is about understanding seafarers’ needs first, mapped to positive outcomes.”

Good management has a significant influence on crew wellbeing, and another key area of investment is a new leadership training programme recently launched by Marlins for senior officers. Based on a blend of shore training, at sea training and elearning, supported by new simulators in five global training hubs, the leadership course is about behaviour and teamwork, going far beyond crew resource management training.

There are other factors at play when it comes to ensuring a positive working environment. Safety is essential to wellbeing and accident prevention is front of mind when designing seafarer training, as Catherine explains: “The industry talks about the so-called ‘human element’ and states that this, along with communication, are the root causes of 90% of accidents at sea. Rather than view people as an ‘element’, we believe human behaviour and personal skills affect 100% of safety. As a result, all our training solutions are designed with seafarers learning in mind, to ensure the safe operation of our clients’ vessels.”

“We take a holistic view of seafarer training and work with companies on their specific training needs. Our goal is to ensure that seafarers can carry out their jobs safely and effectively, whilst keeping physically, mentally and emotionally healthy,” says Catherine. “We do not simply offer training products – we strive to offer solutions that improve business performance.”

For more information about Marlins’ maritime training solutions, email Catherine Logie at clogie@marlins.co.uk

We are delighted to announce that Marlins has approved a new centre in San Pedro Sula, Cortes in Honduras. Our brand new Marlins Approved Test Centre ‘Universidad Cristiana Evangelica Nuevo Milenio- UCENM’ is now offering the Marlins English Language Testing and UK MCA flag approved Security Courses.

If the UCENM is the nearest Approved Test Centre to you, do not hesitate to contact them and book your assessment:

Email: lmaradiaga@ucenm.net

Phone: +(504)2557-0732 / +(504)2557-0728

Address: Barrio Suyapa, 4 y 5 calle, 13 avenida suroeste San Pedro Sula, Cortés

Effective communication is a mandatory requirement of the IMO STCW Convention, SOLAS, ISM Code and additional international standards to ensure the safety of crews and vessels. A breakdown in communication can have far-reaching consequences for the crew, the marine environment, the cargo, vessel and the ship operator. English is acknowledged to be the common working language of shipping internationally, however, crews have varying standards of Maritime English competence.

This new flagship programme from Marlins builds on our years of expertise as established global leaders in Maritime English assessment and training. The course also fulfils the IMO Model Course 3.17, Maritime English (General Maritime English) requirements for Maritime Engineers and is suitable for seafarers at elementary (A2) language level.

This original new course aims to develop the Maritime English level of seafarers, focussing on the specific communication needs of marine engineer officers and crew.

Through taking this course, seafarers will improve their English language and communication skills within multi-national crews, during inspections and in ship /shore communications.

Set on the “MV Marlin”, the course consists of five units, each with a different maritime theme which integrates grammar, maritime vocabulary, SMCP and pronunciation into a comprehensive self-study programme.

Marlins Maritime English specialists have devised a variety of highly creative, interactive speaking, listening and reading tasks to engage and motivate the learner throughout.

An in-built speech recording facility allows learners to compare their own speech with that of a native speaker and encourages self-directed practice.

Each unit concludes with a short revision task to reinforce the learning and provide feedback.

We are delighted to announce that Marlins has approved a new centre in Castel Volturno, Italy. Our brand new Marlins Approved Test Centre ‘Italian Maritime Academy Technologies’ is now offering the Marlins English Language Test as well as Marlins Test of Spoken English.

If the Italian Maritime Academy Technologies is the nearest Approved Test Centre to you, do not hesitate to contact them and book an English Language Test:


Contact number: +390815099303; +390815099487

Email: ima2006@libero.it

Location: Viale Degli Oleandri 1, 81030 Castel Volturno

Marlins approved test centres open in Panama and Ethiopia

Marlins has approved two new test centres in Panama and Ethiopia. The test centre in Panama is our first approved test centre in Central America.

The centres – E4Seafarers in Panama and Andromeda Marine Surveying and Consultancy PLC in Ethiopia will offer both Marlins UK Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA) approved STCW testing and certification as well as English language testing.

Darren Cassidy, sales and marketing manager, Marlins said: “The provision of Marlins UK MCA approved assessment and certification continues to expand, with 200 Marlins approved test centres in 42 countries, we are reaching more seafaring communities than ever before.”

This was an important achievement explains Captain Francisco Tajú Guardia, general manager, E4Seafarers: “Seafarers from Central America can now demonstrate to ship operators and maritime administrators that they have been assessed on their ability to communicate in English – a requirement that has been given additional emphasis with the implementation of the STCW Manila amendments.”

Bisrat Hailu, general manager, Andromeda Marine Survey and Consultancy plc adds: “Our aim is to support Ethiopia’s efforts to become a force in the shipping industry by providing high-end training and consultancy services to existing as well as prospective seafarers in the country. We identified that the Marlins English language testing was a critical element in achieving this aim and believe that as a result of the assessment, it will improve their chances of getting jobs in the international shipping sector.”