A new white paper from the One Sea Ecosystem outlines the significant contribution autonomous ship technology can make to improve maritime safety.
pecifically, One Sea released a new white paper focusing on the relationship between ship safety and autonomous technology.
The need to develop harmonised international safety rules covering autonomous ships is now pressing, the paper goes on to argue.
As a priority, One Sea seeks to engage regulators, insurers, representatives of maritime labour, training establishments, flag administrations and classification societies in the dialogue that to shape the future of autonomous shipping to the satisfaction of all.
After all, where ‘autonomy’ includes the greater use of automated systems in deepsea and coastal trades, remote control systems to improve tug and port service vessel safety in busy port areas, or fully autonomous systems for short-haul crossings between two points, the vessels concerned will continue to be manned.
Indeed, far from posing a threat to seafarers’ jobs, such solutions will demand new skill sets of seagoing personnel. And to reflect these developments, it is fair to say that a new regulatory framework is now urgently required.
…the report marks.
What is more, there are some aspects of commercial ship operation which must be considered urgently in response to accelerating digital developments and advances in autonomy. One concerns the requirement to have effective asset insurance in place at all times.
One Sea has already identified some of the challenges relating to the development of robust insurance cover for ships with varying degrees of autonomy, and some of these are set out below:
- Loading and cargo monitoring during voyage – under the Hague Visby Rules, a carrier commits to his counterparty to transport cargoes with care. This includes, but is not limited to, the safe loading or cargo at origin, the monitoring and carriage throughout a voyage, and safe discharge at destination
- Attitude to risk – the identification and assessment of risk by a seafarer on board ship is likely to differ markedly from that of a remote operator sitting many miles away in a comfortable shoreside control centre.
- Training competence – so far, there is no requirement to have seafarers directly involved in the operation of autonomous vessels. This has not yet been considered in relation to the STCW. The Convention could be modified by the addition of another chapter, for example, but this would take time.
- Physical risk to shoreside control centre – the safety and security of the control centre is paramount, both in a cyber and also a physical context.