An Introduction to Maritime Education in China

2008-03-21 11:35  浏览次数 6

An Introduction to Maritime Education in China

By Capt. William F. Lau MBA.,ASNE.,SNAME

To commemorate the 600th anniversary of the expedition by Admiral Zheng He to   Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Persian gulf and east coast of Africa, The government  of China has designated July 11th as “Navigational Day” to commemorate the great explorer of the 14th century. The commemoration provides an opportunity to learn  from history as China looks forward to the future.

From 1407 to 1433 there were a total of seven expeditions under Admiral Zheng.  The first expedition took place in March 18, 1407, when Admiral Zheng sailed    from Wing lok, Zhekiang with a fleet of 60 Treasure (flag) ships, (LOA 136.84m x 55.98m Breadth), together with 270 supply ships (LOA 115.07m x 46.64m Breadth), and a complement of 27,600 sailors and staff. To amass such large a fleet and to      accomplish its mission, the ship builders and the mariners were the key elements. The sailing ship used by Admiral Zheng were of flat bottom design with enforced keel and sheer strake. Propulsion power was provided by the square footage of     sails rigged on the 12 masts of each vessel. The ability to circumnavigate the    earth with only the aid of a magnetic compass and the celestial bodies, was hailed as one of the greatest achievement of mankind in the 14th century.

Six hundred years after Admiral Zheng’s expedition, the skill in shipbuilding  and spirit of the mariners remains very much alive in China. Its shipbuilding is  now ranked third in the world. Shipyards in Dalian, Guangzhou and Shanghai are    capable of building 300,000 deadweight ton VLCC crude oil tankers and 10,000 TEU  containership. In 2020 when the new shipyard in Chonghing island outside Shanghai becomes operational, China will become the biggest shipyard
in the world in term of tonnage output.

projects of the World Maritime University


Twenty years after the Economic reformation in the 80’s, the maritime education  institutes in China have undergone a great change with emphasis on western style  curriculum and cooperation with overseas universities for the issuance of joint   degrees. One notable example is the joint Master of Science (MSc) degrees in      International Transport and Logistics between The World Maritime University of Malmo, Sweden and Shanghai Maritime University in Shanghai, China ( The other is the joint MSc degree in Marine safety and Environment management between the Swedish university and Dalian Maritime  University (

To meet the demand of ever expanding of shipyards and increasing numbers of new   ships, the three major maritime universities are (in alphabetical order): College of Navigation of Dalian Maritime University in the northern Chinese port    city of Dalian, Jimei Navigation Institute of Jimei University in Xiamen and Merchant Marine College of Shanghai Maritime University in Shanghai. All   three are doing an excellent job in sending thousands of graduates to fill the    posts in the shipyard and on board vessels.

Dalian Maritime University

Dalian Maritime University ( founded in 1909 with 12 colleges and 4 departments is acknowledged by IMO as being “internationally renowned for  their academic excellence” and operates directly under The Ministry of           Transportation in China. The Navigation College of DLMU offers undergraduate  and master’s degrees in Navigation Technology and Maritime administration. The   college also offers a doctorate degree in Transportation Information and Control  as well as Vehicle Operation Engineering.

DLMU has currently 13,000 students under 25 undergraduate, 24 masters and 9      doctorate programs. Since 1953 the DLMU has trained over 40,000 highly competent personnel for the government and private sectors of shipping industry.

Jimei University

Jimei University, ( , approved by the Department of Education, is a key provincial multi-disciplinary university which is combination of five       individual institutes and colleges in Jimei School Village. The university was formed in October 1994 from five institutions: Jimei Navigation Institute, Xiamen    Fisheries College, Fujian Physical Education Collge, Jimei Finance and Economic   Institute, and Jimei Teachers College. The University is located on 90 beautiful  hectares in the Jimei School Village in the sea port of Xiamen.

Jimei Navigation Institute was founded in 1920 by Mr.Chen Jiageng (also     known as Mr.Tan Kah Kee), a famous overseas patriotic leader. The Institute is  one of the Jimei University’s 19 colleges and institutes. Because of its long  history, the alumnus of the Institute are found in every facet of the shipping    industry, including both governmental and private sectors.

Since its founding, Jimei University has gained strong support from the Central government of China and overseas Chinese worldwide. The motto of the University is “Sincerity and Fortitude” which is the cherished spirit inheritance left by the founder Mr.Chen Jiageng. The Jimei schools, with a glorious history of 85 years, enjoys a high reputation at home and abroad. Currently, Jimei University has    been conducting research on how it can meet the challenge of the 21st century. Its aim is to cultivate high quality education and personnel to meet China’s growing needs.

Shanghai Maritime University

Shanghai Maritime University, (, founded in 1909, is a multi-disciplinary university with 6 fields of study in Engineering, Management,        Economic, Literature, Law and Science. Particular emphasis is placed on the       discipline of Economic management and Navigational Technology. As of Sept. 2004   SMU has an enrollment of 14,459 students in 32 Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral     programs.

In coincide with the policy of City of Shanghai in developing as an International Shipping Center, SMU will move to a new campus of 133 hectares located in the     developing new port city in Pudong in 2006. SMU will avail itself of this         opportunity to strive for the goal that SMU will advance as a high-level maritime university of the world.

From 2000 to 2005 I had the privilege of giving four annual lectures to the above named universities, twice to Jimei Navigation Institute, my alma mater, once  each to Dalian Maritime University in April 2004, and Shanghai Maritime    University in April 2005. During those lectures and the ensuing interaction with the students, I noticed the knowledge of the student and quality of maritime      education in China have improved dramatically over the past twenty years. It is   therefore my opinion that the new mariners of China are in every respect ready and eager to sail. With help of a brief training, these young mariners can be the new addition to international shipping.

With the prediction of a shortage of mariners and the ever expanding tonnage of   new ships, the new generation of Chinese mariners will be the ideal source of     skilled personnel to fill the vacancy on vessels flying the flags of various      nations around the world.

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