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Founded in 1993 with five members and now standing at over 40 the Ship Operations Cooperative Program SOCP was created to improve the competitiveness productivity efficiency safety and environmental responsiveness of US vessel operations through-out the world through the joint venture between the United States government such as Maritime Administration MarAd and those industries which are related to the maritime business Those industries include not only many of the U S flagged shipping companies but also such entities as the seven maritime academies one of them being Maine Maritime Academy and other schools sponsored by the maritime unions such as Marine Engineers Beneficial Associations MEBA Calhoun MEBA Engineering school and Seafarers International Unions SIU Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education Also included are the non-profit certification and classification societies such as the American Bureau of Shipping and their European equivalent Det Norske Veritas Membership in the SOCP is accomplished by paying a 500000 annual fee With this membership the companies and government agencies get together to work out issues pertaining to maritime affairs This membership offers the industry a way to stay abreast of current events and allows all members to work together to better understand future trends The SOCP is in the forefront on forming venues for parties to communicate through conventions around the United States newsbriefs and newsletters and up-to-date online web casts The SOCP is supported by its members to develop Research and Development strategies for future projects and policies The SOCP also works bringing together organizations with like interests for projects of mutual benefit so as to better utilize resources of those companies participating In doing so the SOCP can also assist in differences that surface during such projects The SOCP can assist in keeping members up-to-date with changes in maritime regulations and can get easier access for members to regulatory agencies both internationals and domestic who make those decisions
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