IMLA-IMEC31 Held in Åland Islands, Finland

IMLA-International Maritime English Conference (IMEC31) took place in Mariehamn, Åland Islands, Finland, from 30th September to 3rd October, 2019, with a day of preconference activities held in Turku, on the Finnish mainland, on 29th September. The conference was hosted by Åland University of Applied Sciences, Mariehamn, and the Local Organising Committee was headed by Erik Hemming with the assistance of Tiina Makinnen. Peter Björkroth of Novia University of Applied Sciences organized and led the activities in Turku. The 31st edition of the conference was deemed fittingly maritime as participants embarked for an evening crossing from Turku to Mariehamn on the Viking Grace, the first large scale passenger ferry to be powered by LNG, as well as being fitted with a rotor sail. Once in Mariehamn, IMEC31 opening ceremony took place on board the MS Pommern, an iron-hulled sailing ship built at the start of the 20th century and used to carry grain from Australia to the UK. 
 
IMEC 31 registered a total of 53 delegates, of 22 different nationalities. With the conference theme of“Interactivity and Cooperation”, a total of 13 formal paper presentations were given, 5 practical sessions regarding individual teaching practices were held, 4 workshops were run, and two roundtable discussions were facilitated. In addition to the conference theme, topics included ship-to-shore communication, course and learning tool design principles, sustainability in MET, Maritime English in the full mission bridge simulator, aids to self-evaluation, enhancement of SMCP usage, Maritime English for yachting, semiotics and discourse in cross-cultural learning, online tools (Google’s G Suite) for MET and e-learning courses (Marlins) for marine engineers. Moreover, despite being a demilitarised zone, Åland proved unique in being the first IMEC to host a series of presentations and discussions for Maritime English instructors and delegates from naval academies. In general, the topics presented at IMEC31 continued to reflect the major changes in MET and, more significantly, to provide future challenges for conference delegates. 
 
During the conference, Prof. Clive Cole (World Maritime University, ret’d) officially relinquished his position and handed over to Prof.dr. Alison Noble (Antwerp Maritime Academy, Antwerp, Belgium) who now takes over as Chair of IMLA-International Maritime English Conference (IMEC). Catherine Logie (Business Development Director, Marlins, Glasgow, Scotland) remains in her position as Vice-Chair. Prof. Dr. Carmen Chirea-Ungureanu (Constanta Maritime University, Constanta, Romania) replaces Alison Noble as Head of IMLA-IMEC Papers & Activities Committee. Papers & Activities Committee member Peter John (Jade University of Applied Sciences, Elsfleth, Germany) steps down from his position on the committee. 
 
The IMEC Steering Committee would particularly like to thank Erik Hemming in Mariehamn for his commitment and energy in preparing and delivering a highly successful conference and Peter Björkroth for the kick-off events in Turku. Thanks also go to Prof. Dr. Jin Yongxing, Chairman of IMLA, for his continued support for IMEC as one of IMLA’s three Special Interest Groups.