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MCA autonomous vessel work continues

by Helen Lewis 20 Aug 2020 06:26 UTC
SEA-KIT USV at sea © Rich Edwards, ENP Media

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be looking to build on the recent successful 22 day data collection mission of a remotely operated vessel.

The journey, during which the SEA-KIT unmanned vessel Maxlimer surveyed previously uncharted territory, is a sign of great progress in the field of autonomous shipping.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, through the MARLab project and as part of the wider work of the Maritime Future Technologies team, is working on a long-term plan looking at how autonomous ships can be best regulated.

Dr Katrina Kemp, Smart Ships & Automation Policy Officer for the MCA said: "This was a really exciting journey, and a great opportunity for us to support a company at the forefront of new developments and pushing boundaries for remotely operated vessels.

"We believe that autonomous shipping will play a important role in the future of maritime in terms of reducing carbon emissions by using less fuel and allowing vessels to go to places or situations where people may be put at risk."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has supported SEA-KIT in this project by ensuring the necessary certification was obtained. This has included providing a waiver, which allowed the journey to take place without crew onboard, and issuing a Load Line Exemption to ensure safety requirements were met.

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