MCA to build on success of robot boat

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is looking to build on the recent successful 22 day data collection mission in the Atlantic by a remotely operated vessel, Maxliner.

The journey, during which the 12m SEA-KIT International unmanned vessel surveyed previously uncharted territory, is a sign of great progress in the field of autonomous shipping.

The MCA, 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. 

“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,” says Dr Katrina Kemp, Smart Ships & Automation Policy Officer for the MCA. “We believe that autonomous shipping will play an 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 MCA has supported SEA-KIT in this project by ensuring the necessary certification was obtained. This 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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