The Danish Maritime Authority reports that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom and Belgium, to improve collaboration in facilitating the increased use of digital technologies and autonomous systems on board ships.
The signatory nations have agreed to share knowledge regarding ongoing activities in these areas, with efforts to be made to involve other North Sea countries in the group and widen its activities.
In particular, the MoU looks to facilitate at-sea operation of MASS technologies in the North Sea, to ensure that they can be operated safely under the different national frameworks and requirements of each of the signatory countries.
The agreement recognises and aims to build on the IMO’s 2019 guidelines for the testing of MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships MSC.1/Circular.1604 – Interim Guidelines for Mass Trials), which require coordination between flag states and the relevant coastal states in case of cross-border testing activities.
The IMO is also developing a non-mandatory MASS code for cargo ships, expected to be finalised by 2025, which was also cited by the Danish Maritime Authority as a further motivation for increased MASS testing.