zoom The United States Maritime Resource Center (USMRC) in Middletown, Rhode Island and Japan’s classification society ClassNK, have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on joint research and development activities for the maritime industry.The initial joint project will focus on the development of practical LNG bunkering simulation tools to further enhance USMRC’s existing niche portfolio of LNG bunkering training programs.This type of training, augmented with high fidelity simulations, better 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.“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.” “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.