Namely, Kronshtadt signed  agreement with shipping companies Morspetsservice and SeaEnergy, which thus became the first companies in Russia to announce the creation of a commercial fleet of autonomous vessels.

The agreements define projects and names of the first twenty vessels, the schedule of their equipment, the location of onshore monitoring and control centers for autonomous vessels.

According to sources, Morspetsservice will equip ten Sakhalin cargo-passenger vessels and Sakhalinets multipurpose high-speed catamarans to provide sea freight and passenger traffic in the Far East.

In addition, the lead ships of the series, MSS Pioneer and MSS Avangard, will have been equipped with autonomous systems by 30 August 2021.

SeaEnergy will also equip ten U-Type multipurpose general cargo vessels with autonomous navigation systems. The lead vessel in the series, Kamilla, will be equipped with the advanced system by 31 December 2021.

This collaboration became possible due to a new regulatory framework in Russia, which is necessary for the operation of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) and the development of technical means for autonomous navigation.

Namelt, on December 5, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved a decree on the introduction of a national-wide experiment in MASS operations. This allows every shipping company to trial MASS operations.

What is more, the sea trials of technical solutions in real operation should be completed onboard several vessels of SCF, Rosmorport and Pola Group.

“In general, we automated step by step almost every navigation function defined by STCW Code and Russian regulation in environment analysis, ship maneuvering, ship and technical systems control, etc. On one hand, it gave us a clear scope of requirements for the technical solutions. On another hand, it allows operating MASS within the framework of the current international regulation as is, without requiring to change it immediately, and to coexist with traditional ships,” Pinskiy said.

Finally, head of Russian Industry Association MARINET, Alexander Pinskiy, had previously announced plans to equip at least 100 autonomous vessels under the Russian flag in the next three years.