The UK Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG) published the first code of practice to global industry-wide acclaim in November 2017.


The first version was focused on the design and manufacture of vessels. The updated version adds new guidance on the operation of autonomous ships, with a particular focus on skills, training and vessel registration.

The world of maritime autonomy is developing fast and the Code of Practice has informed and been used by a wide range of companies and organisations around the world.

Namely, the report says that skill and competency levels and team size for specific MASS operation should be defined in a Safe Operating Plan equivalent to the IMO Resolution 'Principles of Minimum Safe Manning'. This Resolution states that, in determining the minimum safe manning of a ship, consideration should also be given to the number of qualified and other personnel needed to meet peak workload situations and conditions.

In fact, the UK Maritime Autonomous Systems (Surface) (MAS(S)) Code of Conduct sets out a clear Industry Principle for Training and Development:

  • The Industry will ensure the appropriate level of training and certification for all MASS operational staff to meet their Safe Operating Plan. It will enable staff development and the sharing of best practice through professional maritime bodies;
  • MASS operational Staff should be trained and certified to at least the same recognised Flag State Authority or national equivalent standards, to a level equivalent to that appropriate for a similar manned vessel;
  • Companies within the Industry will have staff development processes in place to capture and progress skill generation.

In addition, MASS Operators should have an appropriate seafarer certificate of competence applicable to the area category and vessel size. They should also have an appropriate training through generic MASS operator’s course. Additional training should also be performed for type and mission specific skills. The level of the skills needed for each mission should be assessed, agreed and audited by an independent party.

In the following table, you may see specific training needs regarding MASS:

Credit: Maritime UK

You can see more information in the PDF below