Shipping innovation is moving faster than regulation
Innovation in the field of autonomous shipping is moving at a far greater pace than the international rules that will regulate the industry can be established, according to Rolls-Royce.
Kevin Daffey, director ship intelligence, engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine, told the Maritime Autonomous Ships Regulatory Working Group conference that Scandinavian countries are moving ahead with the development of autonomous ships that will prove the technology in local waters, and will operate under local regulations.
The autonomous vessel revolution is fast approaching; the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been carrying out a scoping exercise since last year that will identify the regulations that need to be changed for autonomous vessel operations in international waters. However, companies such as Norway’s Yara, which produces agricultural products, are planning to operate autonomous vessels well in advance of these new rules.
Yara has designed an electric-powered vessel, the Yara Birkeland, that will carry over 100 containers per day from Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn to the Norwegian ports of Brevik and Larvik. Yara Birkeland is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2020, initially with a crew on board to operate the vessel and then with increasing autonomy until the vessel operates entirely autonomously.