Classification society ClassNK has released a new whitepaper focused on ensuring safety is maintained during different levels of the deployment of autonomous vessels.
The publication, Towards MASS social implementation, outlines use cases for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), perspectives on safety requirements, gaps with existing technologies, and risk assessments.
In light of the possibility of MASS becoming a reality by 2025, ClassNK is proposing a framework for safety assessment at the design and development phase, and the PDCA (planning, doing, checking, and acting) cycle during operational phases.
The whitepaper is proposed as a reference for use in discussions among a range of MASS stakeholders involved in the development, operation, and regulation of these technologies going forward.
Various projects are underway globally to support MASS development, including the Nippon Foundation MEGURI 2040 Fully Autonomous Ship Program in Japan, to which ClassNK was a contributor. The push for international rules on these technologies has intensified with IMO MSC looking to agree on a plan of requirements effective from 2028, the class society notes.