Collaboration with NSB Benefits Seagrass and Mangrove Ecosystem Research

Three students in the Class of 2023 benefited from the educational partnership between the German shipping company Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (NSB) and the World Maritime University (WMU). Through the partnership, NSB offered collaboration and internship opportunities to outstanding MSc students during their dissertation writing process. 

The students, specializing in Ocean Sustainability, Governance, and Management – Aziza Mohammed Swazuri (Kenya), Dani Daniel Chunga (Tanzania), and Salahudeen Abdallah Mustapha (Ghana) – were supported by NSB in their research on the threats, degradation, and restoration actions of seagrass meadows and mangrove forests, with a particular focus on blue carbon. The support from NSB allowed the students to travel to, and conduct research on the ground in, southern Kenya and Zanzibar Island.

The students’ research highlights the intricate interplay between social and ecological factors in the restoration of seagrass and mangrove ecosystems in Kenya and Zanzibar. The challenges posed by seagrass and mangrove degradation in these areas are influenced by non-sustainable human factors, as well as anthropogenic and climate change-related pressures. Given the many ecosystem services seagrasses and mangroves provide, they play a crucial role in supporting coastal communities that require collaborative efforts and community engagement for effective management.

In Kenya, seagrass degradation impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services, including blue carbon benefits. The research examined previous restoration programmes and revealed challenges such as policy gaps, resource limitations, and destructive fishing practices. The study recommends collaborative efforts from local to international levels, emphasizing community involvement for effective seagrass management associated with restorations. 

Mangrove ecosystems were explored for their significance to coastal communities, providing livelihood resources and playing a crucial role in carbon sequestration, erosion regulation, water purification, and nutrient cycling. Interviews with community households and professionals in Zanzibar highlighted anthropogenic and climate change-related pressures on mangroves. Both perspectives emphasized the need for capacity-building, afforestation programmes, and alternative energy sources to support mangrove restoration and blue carbon.

The collaborative efforts between WMU and NSB, coupled with the generous support provided by NSB, contributed to this valuable research on mangrove and seagrass ecosystems. As part of the collaboration, the students also visited NSB headquarters in Buxtehude to present their findings that emphasize the importance of stakeholder collaboration, conservation efforts, and sustainable management strategies for these vital coastal habitats and their role in carbon sequestration. 

Mutually beneficial relationships between WMU as the preeminent maritime academic institution and the maritime industry are indispensable. Creating educational partnerships with the maritime industry is a key priority under the Academic Agenda WMU@50, a plan outlining strategic directions for the academic development of the University until WMU celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2033. WMU gratefully acknowledges the valuable support provided by NSB to the University and its students. It is anticipated that other industry partners will follow this example and benefit from similar collaboration.



NSB GROUP is a maritime service company with headquarters in Buxtehude, Germany with locations in Singapore, the Philippines, Korea and China. Its history goes back to 1982. In addition to traditional technical management, the services offered by the ship management company include commercial management, crew management and training, insurance services, engineering and newbuilding. In total, NSB manages a fleet of about 60 ships. NSB GROUP employs around 150 people on land and 1,700 at sea worldwide. 

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