New autonomous ship operation guidelines

ClassNK ClassNK has released its Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships. Image: ClassNK

A classification society has released its Guidelines for Automated/Autonomous Operation of ships.

Following the release of its guidelines, ClassNK said that in the field of ships, research and development of technology related to maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) has been actively carried out with the aim of improving safety by preventing human error and improving working conditions by reducing the work load on crew members, and demonstration experiments are being carried out on a global scale.

It is expected that the design and development of technology related to MASS will be performed in various forms and concepts.

The direction of the developments can be roughly divided into the following two ways: design and development aiming to lessen the number of crew members onboard unmanned ships or comparatively small ships with limited short navigation routes, and design and development for partial automation of onboard tasks or remote support, mainly with the purpose of supporting the onboard operation of crew members.

Meanwhile, the safety of the technology-related MASS is to be confirmed in not only the design and development stage, but also in the onboard installation stage. Methods and procedures for maintenance and management during operation are therefore included in the guidelines.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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