Volume 162, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0019-0829
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1490
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Multilingual and multicultural crews have become the rule rather than the exception in the globalised maritime world. Professionals as well as researchers indicate that this increases the risk of miscommunication both on board and in external communication with major consequences for efficiency and safety (Deboo 2004, de la Campa Portela 2005 & 2006, Horck 2005, Squire 2006, Trenkner 2010). The mission statements of international shipping companies1 reveal objectives that aim not only to provide professional services, ensure safety, increase security and protect the marine environment but also to deal with cultural and linguistic diversity and how to harness its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses. Effective communication at sea plays a key role in achieving these objectives as well as in creating a harmonious and efficient working atmosphere on board.

This paper offers an analysis of a survey-based research project (University of Antwerp and Antwerp Maritime Academy2 which aims to determine the linguistic and intercultural features of maritime communication that hinder or aid the quality of work onboard a merchant ship.

Having established the profile of the respondent group, the paper explores the influence of (inter)cultural and linguistic features such as verbal and non-verbal communication, intercultural factors (ethical and social norms, thinking patterns, turn-taking in conversation, cross-cultural prejudices), gender issues and organisational factors on the quality of communication in the maritime sector.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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