In 2018, the Shipowners’ Club launched a dedicated autonomous vessel P&I policy. The Club consulted owners, operators and manufacturers of autonomous ships to make sure it had the right cover in place so that operators can focus on their operations knowing they are appropriately covered if anything should go wrong.
China delivered its first smart very large crude carrier (VLCC) in Dalian, on June 22. The VLCC is called ‘New Journey,’ and is the world’s first intelligent VLCC with a loading capacity of 308,000 tons. The vessel was delivered to China Merchants Energy Shipping Company, after successful trials were conducted in May.
International maritime regulators expect that the establishment of safety rules for autonomous ships will be a lengthy process, despite the fact that researchers have advanced relevant technology, saying that robot ships could be a reality in the oceans in the next few years.
Massterly, a ship manager who will operate unmanned vessels via a manned Shore Control Center builds, aspires to see a more sustainable maritime transportation. The unmanned ships will be 100% electrically powered and the battery will be charged when the ship is at shore.
According to One Sea’s press release, three major industry players joined One Sea boosting the future of autonomous ship technology in the maritime sector. Specifically, Inmarsat and MIT (Monohakobi Technology Institute) joined One Sea as full members, whereas RINA, the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become an associate member.
Wärtsilä revealed its new Navi-Planner voyage planning and optimisation solution during Nor-Shipping 2019. Developed by Transas, a Wärtsilä company, the new Navi-Planner utilizes the connected ECDIS. The new connectivity enables onboard voyage planning to be cut from 5 hours to 30min, and it also aims to provide better navigational safety standard for less experienced seafarers.
After successfully conducting a cargo run trial in the North Sea, the 12-meter-long autonomous ship ‘Maxlimer’ is set to set sail from Canada in an attempt of the world’s first transatlantic voyage without a crew. The voyage is expected to last about 35 days.
Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics announced a new partnership with Canadian workboat manufacturer Hike Metal, to integrate an autonomous vessel control system aboard commercial vessels tasked with search-and-rescue (SAR) missions.
Shell has awarded Australian marine survey company Guardian Geomatics with a large hydrographic project utilising its fleet of unmanned surface vessels. The project is to acquire hydrographic data over an area in excess of 800km2.
An autonomous boat has successfully conducted a cargo run from the UK to Belgium. The 12m-long SEA-KIT Maxlimer sailed from West Mersea to Oostende on May 6, carrying a box of oysters. In order to navigate safely in one of the busiest shipping lanes, it relied in various technologies. The sail lasted a total of 22 hours, as the ship can move slowly at only a few knots.
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