DECEMBER 9, 2014 — ClassNK and the United States Maritime Resource Center (USMRC), Middletown, RI, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that lays out a framework for future technical cooperation to carry out joint research and development activities for the maritime industry.
The initial joint project will focus on the development of practical LNG bunkering simulation tools, enhancing USMRC's existing niche portfolio of LNG bunkering training programs. This type of training, augmented with high fidelity simulations, prepares mariners and shore-based personnel to safely handle LNG as a marine fuel.
USMRC's role will be to oversee the execution of the project. It is a recognized expert and industry leader in developing national and international training standards for LNG bunkering operations and employing simulation to improve the development of maritime human capital. Its Vice President, Development and LNG Solutions, Margaret Kaigh Doyle, was last month named the U.S. vice chairperson of the Training and Competency Working Group for the London-based Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF).
"We were the first to offer LNG bunkering safety training in the United States," said USMRC President Brian Holden. "The signing of this MOU will allow us to take another leap forward in this area by developing practical, hands-on LNG bunkering simulation tools to make this training even better."
The MOU also calls for USMRC and ClassNK to work together to offer Dynamic Positioning and other critical training capabilities to meet the needs of the offshore energy sector. ClassNK also has agreed to support USMRC's technical research and other activities related to maritime cybersecurity – an emerging and significant risk to maritime safety.
This is the first time a major ship classification society has teamed with a prominent North American marine operations simulation center engaged in specialized training and research in North America.
"Our goal is to support the safety of ships from not only from the technological point of view, but also the human factor perspective. The need for qualified seafarers who are familiar with the latest maritime technology is essential for the sustainable development of the shipping industry," said ClassNK Executive Vice President Koichi Fujiwara. "USMRC not only has the specialized knowledge to address these issues, but also has rich experience in maritime training. I am sure that this collaboration will greatly contribute to the future of maritime education and training in the world."
"We are truly honored and enthusiastic about working alongside such an innovative and highly respected ship classification society," said Mr. Holden. "ClassNK shares our goal of engaging in activities that focus on the safety of mariners; ships and their cargoes; and protection of the marine environment."
Mr. Koichi Fujiwara, Class NK Vice President, and Mr. Brian T. Holden, President of USMRC