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Autonomous ships should follow COLREGs – NI

Captain Ghulam Hussain of The Nautical Institute Captain Ghulam Hussain of The Nautical Institute

The Nautical Institute has insisted that all vessels, autonomous or not, should comply with the COLREGs, as the process to decide how to regulate unmanned systems begins at IMO.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Captain Ghulam Hussain, head of The Nautical Institute’s delegation to the IMO, stressed the NI’s position on the issue while attending the latest Maritime Safety Committee Meeting (MSC 99), which discussed details of a regulatory scoping exercise for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).

The Nautical Institute also voiced its opinion to the Committee that, as many technologies associated with autonomous operation will be fitted to manned vessels, the exercise should take into account how these systems can best be used by the professional crews onboard.

The Committee has since agreed that autonomous craft should be required to comply with relevant international regulations, including COLREGs, while also taking into consideration the impact on the human element, in particular in relation to remote operation and related training, as well as interactions between conventional and autonomous ships (e.g. VHF voice communications), including non-SOLAS recreational ships.

Technical issues, such as data and communication systems requirements, cyber security, and the availability of related technologies in different countries, were also noted for consideration.

“The Nautical Institute will stay engaged in this debate at the IMO and beyond to ensure that the voice of maritime professionals is taken into account as this new dimension of technology is developed,” said Capt Hussain.{/mprestriction}

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