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The 3rd Mid-Term Plan
NMRI has established the following four priority research areas in order to realize its mission set in the 3rd Mid-Term Plan.

(1) Securing Safety in Marine Transportation

There are calls for the avoidance of the introduction under international agreements of safety regulations that lack technical rationality and for the construction of a system of safety regulations that will truly contribute to improved ship safety. Further, there is still no end to marine accidents; in addition to the speedy investigation of the causes of marine accidents, there are demands for appropriate planning to prevent the recurrence of accidents, as well as verification of their cost-benefit effect and social rationality.
Through the research described below, the NMRI aims to contribute to a substantial reduction in the number of marine accidents and to the construction of advanced safety standards.

Research related to the development of safety assessment techniques utilizing advanced structural analysis technology, etc. and safety assessment techniques responding to new technologies such as innovative dynamic systems and the like
Integrated analysis of entire ship load structure by NMRI-Design
We are undertaking the development of a program (NMRI-Design) which enables integrated assessment and analysis from wave loads to structural strength.
We are developing safety assessment techniques for ship hybrid systems, ship electrical propulsion systems, ship lithium cells, and other new technologies and large scale systems which are being developed to achieve broad reductions in environmental impacts.
Research related to the development of a rational safety regulation system using riskbased safety assessment techniques, etc.
Example of the development of a design support tool
(Evacuation simulation)
We are developing design support tools applying risk-based safety assessment techniques, etc., and preparation of guidelines for the safety of new systems such as LNG-fueled ships, etc.
We are undertaking the development of technologies for the inspection and diagnosis of aging hull structures.

In 2012 we carried out a large number of accident analyses at the request of the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) and other bodies.
In addition to continuing to cooperate with JTSB in accident analysis, in 2013 we will be engaged in upgrading our structure and capacity to tackle everything from the reproduction of an accident and analysis of its cause to the planning of appropriate measures to prevent its reoccurrence, by means of the research and development described below.

Research to reproduce the conditions when maritime accidents occurred with high accuracy, realize advanced analytical techniques, and propose appropriate countermeasures
Reconstruction of a collision in the Kanmon Straits
Linking the Actual Sea Model Basin to the Bridge Simulator for Navigational Risk Research, we are undertaking the development of accident reconstruction technologies through simulation in order to improve our ability to reproduce maritime accidents and speed up accident factor analysis.
We are undertaking the development of a marine traffic flow simulation system that will make it possible to assess both the cause of marine accidents and measures to prevent their recurrence and, by taking the results of those measures into consideration, to evaluate policies for the regulation of navigation.
Reconstruction of accidents involving fishing vessels at sea, using the Actual Sea Model Basin

(2) Preserving the Marine Environment

In addition to the building of a system of rational environmental regulations with a strong technological backing, also of importance is “strategic participation in the shaping of international rules” so that the regulations will lead to an enhancement of the international competitiveness of Japan’s maritime industry.The strategic introduction of new environmental regulations and the strengthening of existing regulations will necessitate the development of environmental technologies (“green innovation”) in compliance with these regulations. Through the studies described below, the NMRI aims to contribute to the formulation of reasonable environmental regulations while at the same time developing basic technologies for a significant reduction of environmental impact.

Research for more advanced environmental assessment technologies and the construction of an environmental regulation system, contributing to the realization of environmental regulations which are both socially rational and substantially reduce environmental impacts
In order to judge the rationality of environmental regulations put in place to target air pollutants, in addition to the preparation of highly accurate data on ship emissions, calculation using atmospheric reaction and diffusion simulations and the development of a method to evaluate the reduction effect on air pollutants, we carry out economic cost-benefit assessments.
Research into the development of basic technologies and performance assessment methods contributing to the reduction of air pollutants such as NOx, SOx, PM etc., and to the prevention of ecological impacts caused by ship navigation
PM images with an electron microscope (SEM)
(The particle in the upper image is larger)
We are undertaking the establishment of technologies for the practical application of ship SCR systems required by the IMO for the NOx Tier III regulations, the development of measurement and assessment technologies to meet future SOx and PM regulations, and the development of emissions- reduction technologies.

From January 2013, newly-built vessels must conform to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) regulations, and the preparation and availability on board of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) is now mandatory for existing vessels. The NMRI has long offered the various kinds of technical sources needed for discussions in the International Maritime Organization. In particular, we contributed to the drawing up of guidelines for provisional trials relating to the calculation of the vessel speed reduction influence coefficient (fw) in ocean areas under the EEDI regulations.
During fiscal 2013 too, in addition to finalizing the fw calculation guidelines and continuing to contribute to IMO discussions, through the above-mentioned research and development we will be enhancing ship design and developing energy-saving devices in order to improve EEDI values, as well as developing energy-saving navigation technologies aimed at SEEMP improvement.

Research related to the development of innovative technologies for reducing environmental loads and techniques for assessing navigational performance in actual seas, contributing to the realization of green innovation in ships
VESTA menu screen
We are developing technologies for assessment of navigational performance in actual seas.
  • Development of a simulator for navigational performance assessments in consideration of the characteristics of main engine.
  • Development of a CFD system (NEPTUNE, SURF, etc.) which makes it possible to assess the performance of energy saving devices, etc. in actual seas in the design stage
We are developing basic technologies for CO2 emission reduction technologies
  • Devices with high energy saving performance in actual seas using stern streamline control technology (WAD: Weather Adapted Duct, etc.)
  • SEEMP improvements through energy-saving navigation technologies, etc.

An example of an integrated-type propeller duct energy-saving device
Development of energy-saving navigation technologies
(Optimum navigation plan, effects of hull trimming)

EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index): differentiates the fuel consumption performance of vessels through the indexation of the efficiency of ships of new construction at the design/construction stage as“ the number of grams of CO2 estimated to be emitted when one ton of cargo is carried a distance of 1 mile, under certain set conditions”.


(3) Ocean Development

Under the government’s New Growth Strategy, ocean development is the engine for Japan’s growth, and it is hoped that it will play an important role in resolving the structural problems – critical shortages of resources, energy, foodstuffs etc. – that are expected to continue into the long-term. In collaboration with relevant organizations in Japan and overseas, the NMRI is carrying out research such as that described below, with the objective of making a technological contribution to national projects and policies aimed at establishing Japan as a maritime nation.

Research related to the development of basic technologies for offshore resource production systems using floating structure engineering, and the development of related safety assessment techniques
The world’s first successful test mining of sea-floor hydrothermal deposit, using elemental technology mining test equipment developed jointly with Mitsui Miike Machinery Co., Ltd. (Part of the project to develop sea-floor hydrothermal deposits being undertaken by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC))
We are developing an offshore unloading operation simulator for offshore natural gas production systems, and a total safety evaluation technique.
We are undertaking the technical development of a subsea (extraction/lifting) system for use in the development of sea floor hydrothermal deposits, and the development of a safety assessment technology for its operation.

Research related to reducing environmental loads, such as the development of assessment techniques for environmental impacts caused by use/development of oceans
We are developing a technique for estimating environmental loads accompanying extraction, etc. in the development of sea-floor hydrothermal deposits, and a technique for estimating environmental loads accompanying the development of marine renewable energy production systems.

At the present time good progress is being made in projects to verify floating offshore wind power generation facilities off the coast of Goto in Nagasaki Prefecture and off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. While participating in these national projects, the NMRI is also making use of tank/wind tunnel facilities and analytical calculation programs to conduct research on the drafting of safety guidelines, as well as contributing to making international standards.With a view to hastening commercialization, we are also working on the resolution of issues throughout life cycle, including the examination of offshore construction methods and the development of monitoring system for safety and environmental impacts.

Research related to the development of basic technologies for marine renewable energy production systems, such as fl oating offshore marine wind power generating equipment, etc., and the development of related safety assessment techniques.
Model experiment to examine stability
Wind-tunnel test in a pitching environment
Sample evaluation of marine energy potential
Performance test of a multirotor for tidal current power generation
We are also evaluating the potential of marine renewable energy, and carrying out feasibility studies on compound use.
We are developing safety and performance assessment technologies on marine renewable energy power generating systems.

(4) Development of Base Technologies Supporting Marine Transportation

If the Japanese economy is to strive for sustainable growth in the face of the worsening of the business environment due to the significant fluctuations in the exchange rate in recent years and changes in the social environment such as the declining birth rate, aging of society and the overpopulation/depopulation of the regions, maritime logistics, which support the social and business infrastructure, must be made more efficient, there must be comprehensive improvement of the maritime transportation system and the maritime industries must be made more competitive. The NMRI is carrying out development of base technologies in the fields of logistics, marine transportation and shipbuilding to support marine transport, supporting marine distribution policies and responding to emerging needs in marine transportation.

Research related to the development of techniques for policy assessments of effi ciency measures/optimization of maritime logistics
Example of domestic feeder route link evaluation
We are developing a tool enabling advance assessment of policies such as activation of coastal feeder transport, etc., and an assessment program for links between the oceangoing shipping network and coastal feeder routes.
Research related to the development of navigation support technology/transportation systems, etc. responding to new needs in maritime transport
Testing of an automatic communications support system
In order to promote shipboard labor-saving, we are engaged in the development of base technologies aimed at improving safety and reducing maintenance costs, such as the construction of an at-sea watch duty support system or an engine check support system utilizing on-shore assistance or image processing technology.
We are developing a collision avoidance system utilizing IT technology and establishing a usability assessment method for navigation support equipment.
We are preparing public transport guidelines to promote easier movement for the disabled and to secure greater convenience for the user.