Denmark recommends global regulation for autonomous ships

12 December 2017 (Last Updated December 12th, 2017 10:45)

A new report released by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) has recommended that the regulation for autonomous shipping should be agreed upon globally and in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) guidelines.

A new report released by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) has recommended that the regulation for autonomous shipping should be agreed upon globally and in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) guidelines.

The report was prepared by consulting company Rambøll and CORE Law Firm on behalf of the DMA, and stated that maritime regulation should be flexible enough to support the development of autonomous ships.

“The regulation of autonomous ships shouldn’t be a hindrance to further advances, and therefore the report published today provides important input.”

It also suggests several changes to be made to the current maritime regulation.

In addition, a number of recommendations have also been provided in the report to help Denmark offer and prepare the regulation of autonomous technologies by considering regulation on manning and definition of the term master, as well as permission for a periodically unmanned bridge and electronic lookout.

The report will be used by DMA to develop its future regulations and help make the sector digitalisation-ready.

Denmark Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Minister Brian Mikkelsen said: “It is important that Denmark and Danish companies are at the forefront of technology and digitalisation.

“The development of autonomous ships is fast-moving and we must be at its forefront.

“However, part of the current regulation is based on traditions dating back to the age of sail. That needs to improve.

“The regulation of autonomous ships shouldn’t be a hindrance to further advances, and therefore the report published today provides important input.”

DMA further noted that autonomous ship regulations should look into the industry’s overall approach to supporting the development of self-operating ships that are as safe to operate as conventional vessels.