One Sea publishes ‘Autonomous Ships and Safety at Sea’ white paper

The One Sea Ecosystem, a collection of organisations involved in the development and introduction of autonomous ship technologies, has released a new white paper focusing on the relationship between ship safety and autonomous systems, highlighting the need for a revised regulatory framework to take advantage of new innovations.

The paper examines the safety advances expected from autonomous shipping, with One Sea aiming to drive the consultative process forward towards a revised set of maritime regulations. The document considers today’s safety framework, cybersecurity, views from ship owners and operators, the consequences for labour and insurance, and the classification implications of varying levels of autonomy, before offering a proposal for next steps by the industry.

“Not only can autonomous ships greatly contribute to increasing productivity, bolstering sustainability and improving working conditions at sea; direct and powerful contributions to enhancing maritime safety have also been identified,” writes Capt Eero Lehtovaara, Chairman of One Sea, in the publication’s foreword.

“Technology advances however are dependent on regulatory frameworks. As a group of technology pioneers with some of the world’s most distinguished marine automation technology innovators and enablers, One Sea has considerable knowledge and expertise to share as new rules and regulations are developed.”

The need to develop harmonised international safety rules covering autonomous ships is now pressing, the white paper argues, with One Sea seeking to engage regulators, insurers, representatives of maritime labour, training establishments, flag administrations and classification societies in the dialogue to shape the future of autonomous shipping.

One Sea Senior Ecosystem Lead, Paivi Haikkola, comments: “Our aim at One Sea is to assist in the development of safe autonomous systems in global shipping that could lead towards an effective operational maritime ecosystem by 2025. Collaboration between all stakeholders in the field is essential to address the challenges of digitalisation and the development of autonomous systems.”

“One Sea stands ready to offer its further support to regulatory efforts at every level, including through contributions to the International Maritime Organization. The One Sea ecosystem plans to set the course for new industrial standards. In doing so, we invite all stakeholders to participate fully due to their likely consequences for maritime safety, and for facilitating new business models, reducing shipping’s carbon footprint and opening new commercial opportunities.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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