MarAd Issues RFP For Maritime Innovation Center

The Maritime Administration’s (MarAd) Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) program announced a request for proposals (RFP) June 14 to establish a United States Center for Maritime Innovation. The center will “support the study, research, development, assessment and deployment of emerging marine technologies and practices related to emerging environmental challenges faced by the maritime transportation system.”

Since its inception, META’s primary focus areas have been the control of aquatic invasive species transported by vessels and the reduction of vessel and port air emissions. These two areas present “significant continuing challenges for ship owners and operators, the regulatory community and the public,” the organization said. But META’s perview was always open to studying other maritime environmental issues as they emerged.

Thus, MarAd is seeking proposals from organizations “to establish and maintain the center and serve as its secretariat.” Funds for the virtual center are available through a competitive cooperative agreement with the Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance program.

The RFP was authorized by Section 3543 of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA). Its authorizing language says the center will:

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facilitate the development and use of clean energy and the necessary infrastructure to support the deployment of clean energy on vessels of the United States

monitor and assess, on an ongoing basis, the current state of knowledge regarding emerging marine technologies in the United States

identify any significant gaps in emerging marine technologies research specific to the United States maritime industry, and seek to fill those gaps

conduct research, development, testing, and evaluation for equipment, technologies, and techniques related to marine environmental protection provide guidance on best available technologies

conduct technical analyses, assist with understanding complex regulatory requirements, and document best practices in the maritime industry, including training and informational webinars on solutions for the maritime industry

and work with academic and private sector response training centers and Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education Centers of Excellence to develop maritime strategies applicable to various segments of the U.S. maritime industry, including the inland, deep water, and coastal fleets

Applications for the Center for Maritime Innovation RFP must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 17.