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Update on regulatory developments for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)

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The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee met for its 100th session in December 2018. On this occasion the Committee was looking at a hotly debated topic: The future regulatory framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). The Committee approved the methodology and definitions developed by a Working Group as a first part of the regulatory scoping exercise. Among other things, four degrees of autonomy were established for the purpose of the exercise. For each IMO instrument under the purview of the Maritime Safety Committee and for each degree of autonomy, provisions will be identified which may require amendments in relation to MASS.

In her capacity as CMI Rapporteur of the International Working Group on Unmanned Ships, Dr Lina Wiedenbach from Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein is well suited to provide an update on the most recent developments at the IMO and to share her thoughts on the ongoing work in the various Committees of IMO to make the regulatory framework fit for a future in which MASS are likely to co-exist with “conventional” manned vessels.