Can the International Regulatory Framework on Ships’ Routing, Ship Reporting, and Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Accommodate Marine Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)?

The recent maiden voyage of the Yara Birkeland witnessed yet another development in autonomy that is transforming the maritime sector. Marine autonomous surface ships (MASS) are claimed to bring many opportunities to society at large, not least in terms of operational efficiency and safety of the crew, fewer emissions, and greener shipping. On the assumption that MASS will prove safe enough to ply seas and oceans, this article investigates the flexibility and ability of the existing International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations on ships’ routing, ship reporting, and vessel traffic service (VTS) to respond to the technological developments, allowing for the operation of both remotely controlled ships without seafarers on board and fully autonomous ships. It argues that the regulations in question are largely supportive of autonomy. Challenges, however, exist when it comes to the employment of fully autonomous ships and the effective use of VTS.


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  • Accession Number: 01891658
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 28 2023 9:34AM