In the period 3- 7 December 2018, the 100th Session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization was held in London.
The participants included delegates from member states, observers and consultants from international and non-governmental organizations.
The subject of the session was e.g. Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), navigation in polar waters as well as amendments to IMO instruments.
Fig. 1. Plenary session of the 100th Session of the Maritime Safety Committee, London 2018.
An employee of the Faculty of Navigation of the Maritime University of Szczecin, Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, PhD. Eng. Professor of MUS, took part in the plenary session and the meeting of the working group on autonomous ships as an expert in the Polish delegation.
The works of the working group on autonomous ships involved development of the scope of legal requirements for MASS and the working methodology. Moreover, initial principles for development of the guidelines for MASS tests were examined. Four degrees of autonomy were included: 1) ship with automated processes and decision support with seafarers on board; 2) remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board; 3) remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board; 4) fully autonomous ship
Fig. 2. Representatives of the Polish delegation in the 100th Session of the Maritime Safety Committee, London 2018. From the left-hand side: Paweł Perkowski - a delegation member; Wojciech Zdanowicz – a delegation member; Cezary Puchacz – Deputy Head of the delegation; Hanna Słąba – a delegation expert; Magdalena Kierzkowskia – a delegation member; Przemysław Lenard – a delegation member; Tadeusz Wojtasik – Deputy Head of the delegation, Zbigniew Pietrzykowski - a delegation expert
In accordance with the proposed 2-step working methodology, the first step will involve the analysis of the existing legal instruments concerning safety including a diverse scope of MASS uses: a) applying to MASS and preventing MASS operations; b) applying to MASS and requiring no actions; c) applying to MASS, but in need of amendments or containing gaps; d) having no application to MASS operations.
The second step will involve determination of further actions, taking into account, inter alia, human element, technology and operational factors.
The works on developing of the scope of regulations for MASS are expected to finish in 2020.
The MASS working group also discussed the principles for preparing guidelines for autonomous ship testing and proposed initial assumptions for the above mentioned guidelines.
The 100th Session of the MSC was also accompanied with additional events, including a visit of Her Majesty Princess Anna Mountbatten - Windsor, the 100th Session celebration and the International Maritime Organization award ceremony.