UK Maritime issued the fifth version of its Code of Practice for the Maritime Autonomous Ship Systems (MASS) suggesting nine principles for responsible and ethical behaviour in relation to the design, manufacture, distribution, operation, maintenance and final disposal of these systems.
ASS is a term adopted by IMO as well as the following four Degrees of Autonomy for their Regulatory Scoping Exercise.
- Ship with automated processes and decision support: Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised but with seafarers on board ready to take control.
- Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions.
- Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location. There are no seafarers on board.
- Fully autonomous ship: The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself.
UK Maritime’s nine principles
#1 HEALTH AND SAFETY: Maintain healthy and secure workplaces and promote safe working practices during all stages of the MASS design, build, maintenance and operation lifecycle.
# 2 ENVIRONMENT: Embrace a commitment to use resources effectively and to minimise the adverse impact of products, activities and operations on the environment.
#3 PRODUCT SAFETY DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: Agree the level of safety required for a specific operational situation and suggest designs or modifications to mitigate, where possible, any identified or perceived risks.
#4 CUSTOMER INFORMATION: Handle customer protectively marked and commercially sensitive information confidentially and, as a minimum, in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and processes
#5 ASSURANCE AND AUTHORISATION: Develop and apply agreed Assurance, Certification and Clearance for Use processes to enable demonstrable confidence in MASS products and systems and compliance with existing regulations
#6 TRADE RESTRICTIONS AND EXPORTS: Comply with all applicable laws and regulations and export controls when importing and exporting products, services and information.
#7 OPERATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES: Conduct MASS operations in a safe and effective manner with full regard for other users of the maritime domain.
#8 REGULATORY COMPLIANCE: Ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and contribute to the development of special rules and regulations covering MASS operations.
#9 TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT: Ensure the appropriate level of training and certification for all MASS Operators and enable staff development and the sharing of best practice.
Success of the MASS Industry and development of the appropriate regulatory controls depends on maintaining a good corporate reputation. Every organisation and employee within the industry has an important role to play
Considering the human factor, UK Maritime highlights the importance of training MASS Operators and providing certification to at least the same recognised standards as far as the equivalent conventionally manned vessel. As such, companies within the Industry will need to have staff development processes in place to capture and progress skill generation. ‘
’The MASS industry acknowledges that in time the desire is for standardisation with training syllabi and courses for a wide range of Uncrewed and autonomous systems. In the meantime, it is important that training is provided to the highest standards possible and wherever possible to a level that would be assessed as suitable by an external and accredited organisation resulting in Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel (SQEP).’’ UK Maritime mentions.