The Maria Tsakos Foundation-International Center for Maritime Research and Tradition and ClassNK have embarked on a joint venture to cooperate on matters of common interest, with emphasis on maritime research and environmental protection.
A signing ceremony to commemorate the agreement between the two partners was held at the Foundation’s headquarters in Athens on November 29, 2013. ClassNK Chairman and President Noboru Ueda, and Maria Tsakos Foundation Chairman and IMO Secretary-General Emeritus Efthymios Mitropoulos signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of their respective organizations. They were joined by a number of distinguished guests including Captain Panagiotis Tsakos, Founder of the Tsakos Group of Companies, Mr. V. Papageorgiou, Vice President of the Group and Dr. S. Krimizis, Chairman of the Foundation’s Scientific Council, among others.
The Chios-based Maria Tsakos Foundation-International Center for Maritime Research and Tradition, was founded in 2008 by the family of Captain Panagiotis N. Tsakos, one of Greece’s most renowned shipowning companies. Since its founding, the Foundation has grown to become one of the leading maritime NGOs and philanthropic organizations in Greece, and is known internationally for its relentless efforts in support of the maritime industry and seafarers.
ClassNK is a global classification societies, providing safety and certification services for more than 8,500 vessels representing more than 20% of the world’s merchant fleet in terms of tonnage. The society is supporting the new study as part of its Joint R&D for Industry program, which has provided funding and research support for more than 250 joint maritime R&D projects since its inception in 2009.
The first project under the cooperation scheme is a research study to improve seafarer health and welfare, largely financed by ClassNK.
The objective of the Project (code-named S.H.I.P.S., i.e., Study on the Health Impact of air-Pollution in Ships) is to assess levels of exposure to ambient particles to establish whether they constitute a health hazard for ship crews, especially those working in the engine rooms, and to quantify any associated potential health risks
As part of the study, environmental fixed measurements and personal measurements are taken on board three liquid cargo ships, three dry bulk cargo ships and three containerships. The project has two phases. First, a pilot study is underway to determine whether ambient air measurements of Particulate Matter (PM), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), reach health hazardous levels. If that is the case, a second phase will determine specification and quantification of the associated health risks.
It is expected that the research, the first phase of which is expected to be completed by end of 2014, will provide a greater understanding of the potential health risks posed by air pollution in engine rooms and help better ensure the safety of seafarers.
The Founder, Captain P. Tsakos warmly welcomed the Japanese delegation to the meeting and expressed his delight for the co-operation hammered out and his wish for a close and strong co-operation for many years to come to the benefit of shipping and the seafarers.
Speaking on the occasion, ClassNK Chairman and President Ueda highlighted the importance of the Maria Tsakos Foundation’s work saying: “It is a great honor to be able to work together with one of the world’s leading maritime NGO’s to promote safer shipping and better conditions for seafarers. It is our hope that this project is only the first of many such collaborations to ensure a better future for our industry.”
This sentiment was echoed by Chairman Efthymios Mitropoulos, who thanked ClassNK for its contribution to safety and environmental protection and stressed that he was looking forward to working closely with ClassNK in the future.