Maritime Autonomous Systems Conference 2020
The Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Conference was held on 15 and 16 January 2020 at the United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping in London.
The Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP and Maritime UK Vice Chair, Sarah Kenny opened each day of the conference, providing both a government and industry perspective on regulation in the maritime autonomy arena.
The fifth MASS conference follows the publication of Maritime UK's updated guidance on autonomous vessels. The fast pace of change in maritime autonomy has necessitated regularly updated and relevant guidance for those owning and operating Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).
Version 3 of the UK Industry Code of Practice demonstrates the UK’s continued leadership on autonomy with new sections on inland waterways. There is also an enhanced section on the principles that should underpin the design, manufacture and operation of autonomous vessels along with focus on skills and training. This most recent version replaces the Code of Conduct (2016) and Version 2 of the Code of Practice (2018).
The conference was held as the UK prepares to mark 12 months since the launch of Maritime 2050 - the first long-term strategy for the UK's £46.1bn maritime sector. Maritime 2050 sets out a series of recommendations and route maps to deliver UK advantage across its seven themes: the UK's competitive advantage - environment - infrastructure - people - security - technology - trade. The strategy includes a significant focus on maritime autonomy, including maintaining the UK’s leading role in thought-leadership around regulation.
James Fanshawe, the MASRWG Chair, said: “The whole industry is moving at a very fast speed and it's really important that there are guidelines available to underpin that development in a safe, efficient and sustainable way. I thank the working group for its tremendous efforts in delivering critical updated guidance on a regular basis, ensuring we’re keeping pace with global developments.”
Robert Carington of the UK Chamber of Shipping and secretary to the MASRWG said, “The Chamber supports how the Code of Practice shows that industry is taking a continuous lead in developing and continuing the UK’s thought leadership and development in all aspects of Maritime Autonomy through practical action."
Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK, said: “I’m delighted that the UK continues to lead the way in the debate on regulating autonomous vessels. Thought-leadership in transformational technologies is something that makes the UK a compelling proposition as a global maritime centre and through Maritime 2050 we're working with government to strengthen that lead further still. Automation has the potential to change our sector in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Given its potential impact, it's right that developments are underpinned by a strong set of principles and clear, practical guidance, including on people and skills."
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