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Captain Zakirul Bhuiyan

Associate Professor, Maritime Simulation and Autonomy

Warsash Maritime School

Captain Zakirul Bhuiyan


Captain Zakirul Bhuiyan has over 30 years' maritime industry experience, including more than 17 years' sea experience in worldwide trade, which gave him a wide range of experience in navigation, operation of vessels and management of multicultural and multinational crews. He took his first command in 2003 on a gateway bulker of 171,000 mt deadweight, the second most expensive capesize bulk carrier ever built at the time with Valles Steamship (Canada) Ltd.

Zakirul is the founding director of the Warsash Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) Research Centre. He is also Manager, Maritime Simulation and Ship Handling at Warsash Maritime School. He joined Solent as a senior lecturer in 2006 and has been involved in lecturing on various bespoke and bridge simulation courses. He is the unit leader of MSc Maritime Transport and Operations.

As a principal investigator, Zakirul had been leading several cutting-edge research and innovation projects in the field of maritime operations, simulation pedagogy, maritime human element, and autonomous shipping. He is presently involved in the Mari-UK research project investigating training requirements for future navigators on the remotely controlled maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS).

Zakirul has presented as a speaker at numerous national and international conferences, and his articles on ECDIS, e-navigation, autonomous ships and simulation training have been published in several peer-reviewed international journals and publications. He has actively contributed to development of some of the maritime instruments, being a member of several drafting and working groups of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 2014.

Zakirul has established himself in the wider maritime and academic community and is an active fellow of numerous national and international professional and academic bodies.

Further information

Zakirul’s maritime industry experience, which spans over three decades, includes command on large commercial vessels and 15 years’ experience in maritime simulation. In his present role  his duties are to enhance course provision in design, development and delivering excellence in teaching maritime simulation and ship handling courses; to lead all projects including research and innovation; and to contribute to the achievement of Warsash Maritime School’s objectives and the University’s strategic priorities.

Zakirul maintains liaison with numerous shipping companies and organisations, such as Red Funnel, Associated British Ports, P&O Maritime, Seatruck Ferries, New Haven pilots, Shell, BP, Sea River, Medway pilots, P&I clubs, and the Royal Navy, leading the development of simulator based bespoke consultancy commercial courses including combined manned model and bridge simulator courses. He also organises and conducts meetings and visits for potential customers and organisations for the University’s business, marketing and public engagements.

Zakirul’s current and past roles include:

  • Research and Innovation Coordinator for the maritime simulation section since June 2015.
  • Co-Investigator for the newly awarded MarRI-UK’s innovative technology project ‘IGNITE’ on RC MASS.
  • Leading, organising and managing Innovate UK’s MAXCMAS, EU-funded Sea Traffic Management and MariEMS projects as a principal investigator.
  • Actively contributed to the research projects of HORIZON and MARTHA that focused on seafarer fatigue.
  • Leading a SLTI seed-funded pedagogical study on simulation training and assessment.
  • Leading development of different business proposals and tender biddings for organisations such as the Royal Navy, Seatruck Ferries, Red Funnel Ferries, and ABP Marine Pilot simulation training services.

Zakirul regularly attends several industries working groups and has developed a good network in the wider maritime community:

  • IMO HTW (Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping) sub-committee sessions as a member of several drafting and working groups since 2014.
  • UK MASRWG (Marine Autonomous System Regulatory Working Group).
  • International correspondence group on Regulatory scoping exercise for the use of MASS.
  • NCSR (Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue) S-Mode Correspondence Group,
  • UK Society of Maritime Industries.
  • UK Department for Transport Maritime Autonomy Futures Lab and Smart Shipping.
  • UK SCMC (South Coast Marine Cluster).
  • Technical coordinator of Solent University for Marine Autonomy Challenge (MAChallenge) competition 2021 at Ship Handling Centre.
  • MNTB ECDIS and NAEST Revision working groups since 2011.
  • Committee Member – Nautical Institute and Royal Institute of Navigation, Solent Branch.
  • A member of Nautical Institute Technical Committee.
  • Journal editor - Journal of Navigation.

Zakirul’s prominent roles include representing Solent University at various national and international platforms organised by IMO, IHO, NI, RIN, MCA, UKHO, MAIB, MNTB, OCIMF, IMarEST, classification societies and many shipping companies. He has been a speaker and presented professional papers at several international conferences. His articles on ECDIS, e-navigation, autonomous ships, sea traffic management and maritime training have been published in several international publications.