rr autonomous ships 2

“It is not if, but when”, said James Fanshawe, chair of the Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group, at the launch of version 2 of the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) UK Code of Practice this week.

Indeed, the Yara Birkeland, an autonomous battery-powered cargo ship has been developed by a Norwegian agriculture company to carry fertilizer 37 miles down a fjord, to its production plant at the port of Larvik.

After (manned) trials of the $25m ship – which will be able to transport the equivalent of 100 containers – the vessel is stemmed to begin service in 2020.

The 90-page code provides guidance for the design, construction and operation of autonomous maritime systems and is receiving huge interest from Asian shipyards who are actively looking for new (profitable) niche ships to build.

It should be noted that ‘autonomous’ does not necessarily mean ‘unmanned’, and for larger ships the requirement, for say just a two-man crew, would achieve substantial savings.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.