Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
As part of IMO’s work to ensure that its regulatory framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) keeps pace with rapidly evolving technological developments, the Joint MSC-LEG-FAL Working Group on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS-JWG) held its second session from 17 to 21 April at IMO HQ. A seminar to discuss legal issues concerning MASS preceded the session.
It will be recalled that the MASS-JWG was established to address common high-priority safety, legal and facilitation issues regarding MASS following a regulatory scoping exercise to assess how existing IMO instruments might apply to MASS, and to identify any regulatory gaps.
Need for a human master
Amongst agreements reached during the meeting were the need for a human master to be responsible for an autonomous vessel; that the master may not need to be on board but must have the means to intervene when necessary; and that a single Remote Operations Centre (ROC) must be responsible for a MASS at any one time.
It was reported by IMO on 27 April that the Working Group agreed to consider further matters including the conditions under which a master may be responsible for multiple MASS at the same time, and the roles and responsibilities of the crew of MASS.
An updated Work Plan was agreed, for approval by the three Committees.
More in September
The third session of the Joint MSC-LEG-FAL Working Group on MASS will be held from 11 to 15 September this year with a Seminar on implications, challenges and opportunities of MASS operations for ports and public authorities on the first day, prior to the meeting.
For more information
Readers are invited to learn more about the second session of MASS-JWG (17 to 21 April) here: