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Memorial University Program to Study Marine, Offshore Structures in Harsh Ocean Environments

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(Houston, TX—) Newfoundland and Labrador’s knowledge and technological capacity for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh ocean environments is about to be strengthened with the launch of a research program at Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) and ABS of Texas today announced a combined $600, 000 investment for the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center and associated research program. This investment will fund research on how ship and offshore structures can be improved to work more effectively in volatile ocean conditions, such as the North Atlantic.

“This partnership further demonstrates Newfoundland and Labrador as a recognized leader on the international stage when it comes to research and development of technologies for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh environments, ” says the Honorable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for the RDC. “Worldwide, there is an industry need for this type of research and development. Our geography, academic environment and strong economy make Newfoundland and Labrador the best place for international companies to learn about operating in cold ocean environments.”

The research program within the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center will focus on themes such as dynamic positioning in ice; produced water management; ballast water management; corrosion protection of ships and platforms; and fire and explosion assessment.

“This investment is a significant development for our province as we continue to build research capacity in the ocean technology sector, ” says Glenn Janes, CEO of the RDC. “Academic researchers at Memorial University will be able to work with international partners such as ABS to expand research that can develop solutions for companies operating in challenging marine conditions.”

Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading non-governmental international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.

“ABS collaborated with Memorial University of Newfoundland and RDC to establish the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center, ” states Todd Grove, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

“ABS and Memorial University have developed a strong working relationship during the last few years while producing important research in this field. With this additional support we will build on our previous efforts and continue to assist the marine and offshore industry in tackling the challenges they face in harsh and arctic environments.”

ABS has a longstanding relationship with Memorial University. In 2009, a memorandum of understanding was signed to create the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center on the St. John’s campus to support the development of technologies for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh environments. Today’s investment builds on the relationship with ABS and will strengthen Memorial University’s expertise in a strategic research area.

“Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering has the unique resources and expertise needed to address the challenges of ship and structure design for harsh offshore environments, ” says Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial University President and Vice Chancellor. “Ultimately, the research stemming from this investment will help our students, faculty and industry partners make ocean-related industries safer and more productive.”

ABS has worked closely with the Ocean Engineering Research Centre (OERC) within Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to develop the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Center and the associated research program, which will be led by Dr. Wei Qiu, associate professor and director of the OERC.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with ABS and RDC, ” says Dr. Qiu. “This support will allow the OERC to expand its activities in improving ship and offshore structure design and safety operations in harsh ocean environments.”

The Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s R&D performance. The RDC works with R&D stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies and departments. In Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government allocated more than $19 million to make strategic research and development related investments in people, strategic opportunities and infrastructure. For more information about the RDC, go to www.researchnl.com.


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