August 28, 2017

Dr. Susumu Ota, Director of Center for International Cooperation, was honoured with "Tenth National Maritime Awards" from the Prime Minister

Dr. Susumu Ota, director of Centre for International Cooperation, was honoured with "Tenth National Maritime Awards" (Maritime affairs sector in Excellent Contribution to Maritime Affairs category) from the Prime Minister on 28th of August 2017 at the Prime Minister's Official Residence, for the contribution to the development of world's first international recommendations for safety of liquid hydrogen tankers in an extraordinary short period.

Note:National Maritime Awards consists of categories, i.e. "Special Contribution to Marine-Based Development of Japan" and "Excellent Contribution to Maritime Affairs", and the latter category consists of four sectors, i.e. "Science and technology promotion in relation to the ocean", "Promotion of fisheries", "Maritime affairs" and "Natural environment conservation".  The Prime Minister awards one person or organization for each sector every year.

In order to establish a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain, an R&D project on production and carriage of liquefied hydrogen has been in progress in these years.  In this project, liquefied hydrogen will be produced using Brown Coal in Australia and carried to Japan on liquefied hydrogen tankers, and the project includes R&D of liquefied hydrogen tankers.  For the development of liquefied hydrogen tankers, safety requirements for those ships of a new type are indispensable while such requirements had not been included in international regulations.  Under these circumstances, Dr. Ota led the development of “Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk”.  The interim recommendations were adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on 25th of November 2016, in only about two years from the commencement of development, while the development of requirements for a new product, in general, takes several years to ten years.

Liquefied gas tankers such as LNG tankers engaged in international voyages should be designed and constructed in accordance with the International Gas Carrier Code (IGC Code).  When a liquefied gas not specified in the IGC Code is carried on a liquefied gas tanker internationally, the requirements for the new product are developed and adopted by the MSC of the IMO.  Dr. Ota, under the collaboration with the Maritime Bureau of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, led the development of the requirements for liquefied hydrogen with strong leadership as follows:

  • Coordinated "Correspondence Group on Development of Safety Requirements for Carriage of Liquefied Hydrogen in Bulk" established at the second session of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC Sub-Committee), held on September 2015;
  • Organized "International Workshop on Safety of Liquefied Hydrogen Carriers" at the headquarters of IMO together with the Maritime Bureau just before the third session of the CCC Sub-Committee, held on September 2016, to promote understanding of many delegations on the safety requirements, i.e. the results of the Correspondence Group; and
  • Chaired Working Group on Carriage of Hydrogen in Bulk and Suitability of Materials for Cryogenic Service, at the third session of the CCC Sub-Committee, and succeeds to prepare the draft requirements agreed by the Working Group.

Dr. Ota has participated in number of IMO meetings, coordinated various correspondence groups and chaired various working groups.  In particular, he is recognized as one of the world authorities on safe carriage of solid bulk cargoes.  He was also elected as the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment, which deals with requirements for fire safety, life-saving appliances and other various equipment onboard ships, at its first session held in 2014.  He has chaired the Sub-Committee up to the present.