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MOU signed between MCA and University of Southampton

A partnership joining maritime expertise with top level research programmes will continue to put the UK Flag at the forefront of technology on maritime autonomy and emissions reduction.

The joint working between the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – including the UK Ship Register’s ongoing drive to support innovation – and the University of Southampton will see maritime expertise and top level research coming together.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the University of Southampton which will link research projects to top level work with design, manufacturer and operation of autonomous ships and emissions reduction.

Students from the university will be able to benefit from training, internships and PhD placements at the MCA and staff from the MCA will be guest speakers at the university on courses related to marine design or engineering.

The Chief Executive of the MCA Brian Johnson and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton Professor Mark Smith were unable to meet in person to sign the MoU due to current Covid-19 restrictions but have each signed the document separately to formalise the partnership.

Chief Executive of the MCA Brian Johnson said: “The MCA is delighted to partner even more closely with the University of Southampton through this collaboration. Our unrivalled maritime experience shown internationally through the UK Flag, is reflected through our drive for innovation while remaining committed to safety. This partnership is a natural progression of that.”

University of Southampton President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith said: “We are delighted to step up the relationship between the University of Southampton and the MCA. Our two organisations are firmly committed to understanding and resolving many global issues related to the safety and environmental impact of global shipping and our continued, combined research efforts will play a major role in supporting the sustainability of that industry which is vital to so many people around the world.”

Prof Damon Teagle, Director of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), said: “This exciting initiative is a concrete example of the University of Southampton working closely together with our city neighbours, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

“There are major research challenges for the maritime industries for which there presently are no easy answers. There are opportunities for the UK to lead the vanguard of global maritime in tackling major societal issues such as climate change, decarbonisation, maritime pollution of air and waters, and the welfare of seafarers. We need to safely embrace and develop enabling regulations for nascent technologies such as truly zero-Carbon future fuels, and high levels of automation that will improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of the globally roaming ships that carry 90% of world trade. It is important that Government organisations have prompt access to the best research and visions.”