Maritime UK Releases Updated Guidance On Autonomous Vessels

Maritime UK Releases Updated Guidance On Autonomous Vessels

Maritime UK Releases Updated Guidance On Autonomous Vessels

An update has been launched by Maritime UK for the Industry Code of Practice for autonomous vessels. The speed at which the maritime automation is changing requires up to date and relevant guidance for all those who own and operate Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).

The first code of practice for the industry worldwide was launched by the Maritime UK Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG) in November 2017 which was followed by the second version in November 2018.

Though the Code, not a legal one, manufacturers, service providers, and others have used it in their daily work. There are reports by manufacturers saying that many clients want the contracts to be in compliance with the Code.

The old versions focused mainly on the design and making of vessels, the working to autonomous vessels and skills and training. The new Version 3 showcases the leadership of UK in the autonomous sector by having new sections on inland waterways. A better section on the principles that must be followed in the designing, making, and operation of the autonomous vessels are also included.

The Code of Conduct (2016) and Version 2 of the Code of Practice (2018) are replaced by this version.

James Fanshawe, the MASRWG Chair, said: “The whole industry is moving at a very fast speed and it’s really important that there are guidelines available to underpin that development in a safe, efficient and sustainable way. I thank the working group for its tremendous efforts in delivering critical updated guidance on a regular basis, ensuring we’re keeping pace with global developments.”

Robert Carington of the UK Chamber of Shipping is the secretary to the MASRWG: “The Chamber supports how the Code of Practice shows that industry is taking a continuous lead in developing and continuing the UK’s thought leadership and development in all aspects of Maritime Autonomy through practical action.

Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK, said: “I’m delighted that the UK continues to lead the way in the debate on regulating autonomous vessels. Thought-leadership in transformational technologies is something that makes the UK a compelling proposition as a global maritime center and through Maritime 2050 we’re working with the government to strengthen that lead further still. Automation has the potential to change our sector in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Given its potential impact, it’s right that developments are underpinned by a strong set of principles and clear, practical guidance, including on people and skills.”

On the 15-16th of January 2020, the 5th MASRWG Conference will be held at the UK Chamber of Shipping.

Reference: Maritime UK

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