With more than 1.6 million seafarers estimated to serve on merchant ships trading internationally, the impact of MASS on seafarers requires thorough consideration going forward.
The study indicates that there will be no shortage of jobs for seafarers, especially officers, in the next two decades. While the size of crews may evolve due to technological changes on board, there may also be considerable additional jobs ashore that require seafaring experience.
The study also includes an assessment of risk and opportunities of digitalisation in global logistics chains, as well as on digitalisation and automation in ship operations.
According to its findings, the role of personnel on board and ashore will need to be redefined both operationally and legally. The study also identifies ways to understand how these roles may evolve, becoming an important aspect to address the impact of autonomous ships on the role of seafarers.
As ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten noted, automation will affect a number of areas under IMO’s purview. It will also provide new opportunities that do not exist today, but there is much work to be done, especially regulatory-wise, in order to address concerns about the impact of MASS on seafarers employed worldwide.
The relationship between seafarers and digitalisation will be one of the main topics for discussion during an International Labour Organization sectoral meeting on ‘Recruitment and Retention of Seafarers and the Promotion of Opportunities for Women Seafarers’, to be held in Geneva in February 2019.
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