The US Maritime Resource Center (USMRC) and Tokyo-based ship classification society ClassNK have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop a framework for future technical cooperation in research and development activities for the maritime industry.

ClassNK executive vice-president Koichi Fujiwara said: "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."

This contract is claimed to be the first of this kind, in which the ship classification society joins with a marine operations simulation centre for research purposes.

Initially, the project is expected to develop practical LNG bunkering simulation tools to improve USMRC’s current niche portfolio of LNG bunkering training programmes.

The programmes train mariners and shore-based personnel to safely handle LNG as a marine fuel, ClassNK said.

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By GlobalData
"The programmes train mariners and shore-based personnel to safely handle LNG as a marine fuel."

USMRC president Brian Holden said: "We were the first to offer LNG bunkering safety training in the United States.

"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."

Meanwhile, the agreement also allows both USMRC and ClassNK to join to deliver dynamic positioning and other critical training capabilities in order to meet the needs of the offshore energy sector.

ClassNK will assist USMRC’s technical research and other activities related to maritime cybersecurity.

Image: ClassNK executive vice-president Koichi Fujiwara and USMRC president Brian Holden. Photo: courtesy of ClassNK.