Discussions on autonomous surface sea vessels have started at IMO. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is discussing how to conduct an exploratory study on the regulation of such vessels, which will cover several issues, such as the human factor, safety, protection, interactions with ports, pilotage, response to incidents and the protection of the marine environment for different levels of autonomy.
Secretary General Kitack Lim said during his opening speech: “It is important that we be flexible to accommodate new technologies to improve the efficiency of the maritime sector, while at the same time taking into account the human factor and the need to maintain a safe navigation and to continue reducing the number of marine accidents and events.
Other matters on the agenda include how the provisions of the Polar Code should apply in the future to vessels not governed by the SOLAS Convention, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, fishing vessels and pleasure craft. It is also expected that the new and amended measures for the organization of maritime traffic in the Bering Sea and in the Bering Strait will be adopted, aimed at reducing the risk of an incident. These will be the first steps taken by the IMO for the Arctic region since the entry into force of the Polar Code on January 1, 2017.
The MSC will also discuss issues related to objective-based standards on the safety level approach for bulk carriers and tankers. The results of the Subcommittees will be considered, including several guidelines presented for approval. The SOLAS amendments will be adopted together with the amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).
Source: Sector Maritimo