As explained by the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, Brian Mikkelsen, the development of autonomous ships is fast-moving, but part of current regulation is based on traditions dating back to the age of sail, which needs to improve.  

The overall approach to regulation of autonomous ships is that autonomous ships must be at least as safe as conventional ships. The report, prepared by the consulting company Rambøll and CORE Law Firm for The Danish Maritime Authority, provides a clear recommendation that regulation in this area be agreed upon internationally and more specifically in the IMO. 

In particular, the report provides a number of specific recommendations on how Denmark can facilitate and prepare the regulation of autonomous technologies by, inter alia, looking at the regulation on manning, the definition of the term master and permission for a periodically unmanned bridge and electronic lookout.

"We must be able to seize opportunities created by development of new technology. Denmark has a strong maritime tradition and we want to stay in the lead when it comes to development and testing of technology. In a globalized industry, regulation and standards for autonomous ships must be international. This is the only way to ensure significant global development in this area. I am very pleased that Denmark is already pushing this agenda internationally,” noted Mr. Mikkelsen.