IMO starts work to identify Autonomous Ships regulation


The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) considered the ongoing scoping exercise to identify affected IMO regulations by Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) at its 101st session in which the Maritime Technology & Regulation and Security departments represented BIMCO.

The sessions were held at the IMO Headquarter in London on 5 – 14 June 2019 and the work regarding Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), is divided in two.

The first step is for the identification of provisions in the IMO regulation in terms of applicability to MASS, and the second step is for an analysis to determine the most appropriate way of addressing MASS operation, taking into account eg. the human element, technology and operational factors.

The regulatory scoping exercise must be concluded by 2020, putting the work of the IMO under severe time pressure. Therefore, MSC considered the progress of the work, in particular due to the introduction of a separate module on the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) web platform which aims to ease the input supplied by Member States.

The new module identifies gaps and themes (common issues) that need special attention during the second step of the scoping exercise.

In parallel to the scoping exercise, the MSC finalized guidelines for the trial of MASS operations. The aim of the guidelines is to assist relevant authorities and stakeholders ensuring that the trials of MASS related systems and infrastructure are conducted safely, securely, and with due regard for protection of the environment.

This also include that appropriate steps should be taken to ensure sufficient cyber risk management of the systems and infrastructure when conducting MASS trials, as well as considering manning and qualifications of personnel involved in MASS trials.

The Secretariat will circulate the guidelines as soon as they are released by the IMO.

Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
in Copenhagen, DK


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