Legal briefing - Autonomous Shipping


( Autonomous shipping is looking ever more likely to be the future of the maritime industry. The use of robots in shipping is nevertheless not new. Robotics technology has been in use in underwater and surface settings for some time but the rapidly advancing technology towards crewless and remotely controlled vessels has fast-forwarded the need to consider its regulatory framework.

The legal perspective concern is only natural bearing in mind that the autonomous shipping market, estimated in 2018 to be worth US$ 6.1 billion, is now projected by some to reach a staggering US$136 billion by 2030. The benefits of autonomous shipping are many, not least the reduction or elimination of human errors and crew claims where the vessel is wholly unmanned or only sails with a skeleton crew, and from the additional space freed up for cargo.

The exciting development of a “smart ship” will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operations, but this revolution will come with many challenges. This briefing presents an introduction to the subject of autonomous shipping, discusses a number of the legal issues arising from this new technology, and highlights the international Conventions and Regulations which will need to be adapted to accommodate this new technology.

UK P&I Club has prepared this Legal Briefing to address this issue.

Issues touched in this report:

  1. Definitions issues
  2. Absence of crew issues
  3. Navigational rules issues
  4. Issues of seaworthiness and error in navigation
  5. Cyber risks issues
  6. Issues of liability and its limitation

For more details, click below to download the full paper.

Source: UK P&I Club

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