The UK’s focus on safe testing and development of autonomous vessels has been further enhanced by a new standards and safety regime to shape the future of training for autonomous shipping globally.
The new MASSPeople, Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) International Training Standards working group will develop training standards for people operating autonomous vessels.
The UK becomes the first flag state to join the network, which aims to shape the future of training for autonomous shipping in its commitment to innovation in the industry. The UK will also work with the IMO to ensure development and roll out of autonomous vessels is safe and secure by design.
As a founding member of MASSPeople, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be looking to develop training standards for those who operate these types of vessels.
The UK has also invited selected flag states to take part in the International Training Standards working group to establish high standards of training in MASS. The group consists of representatives from European and International maritime authorities.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts stated:
Autonomous vessels offer significant opportunities for the UK’s economy as well as helping meet our carbon reduction targets. This is unchartered territory, and with the UK’s global expertise in shipping safety standards, the UK is best-placed to set the global benchmark in the development and rollout of safe, autonomous shipping
In addition, Katy Ware, Director of Maritime Safety and Standards, noted that as new technology is introduced and new ways of working with it, training standards must keep the pace up so that the seafarers stay safe while they work.
Finally, the standards currently in place in the International Convention of Standards on Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) do not adequately provide for standards for the operation of MASS, UK MCA believes.