In 1973 the IMO Maritime Safety Committee agreed at its twenty-seventh session that, where language difficulties arise, a common language

should be used for navigational purposes and that language should be English.

In consequence the Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary (SMNV) was developed, adopted in 1977 and amended in 1985.


In 1992 the IMO Maritime Safety Committee at its sixtieth session instructed the IMO Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation to develop a more comprehensive standardized safety language than the SMNV, 1985, taking into account the changing conditions in modern seafaring and covering all major safety-related verbal communications.


Under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as revised 1995, the ability to understand and use the SMCP is required for the certification of officers in charge of a navigational watch on ships of 500 gross tonnage or






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