• 2021 May 3 15:36

    IMO representatives consider Russian concept on a-Navigation convoy promising

    The technology was offered by Rosmorport

    The concept of unmanned convoy headed by one control station onboard another navigator sparked the interest of IMO representatives.  As per the IAA PortNews correspondent  this issue was raised within the framework of the Conference on autonomous and remote navigation (a-Navigation).

    The concept was presented by Alexander Pinskiy, the author and the leader of the a-Navigation project and the Head of MARINET Industry Association. “Rosmorport benefits from very interesting and unique experiment when the remote control station is installed not ashore in a shipping company office but onboard another vessel. Such configuration could be useful in certain conditions, for example, in Arctic environment, when RCS (remote control station) is installed onboard an icebreaker leading the convoy of completely unmanned vessels following the icebreaker”, - he explained. “Communication is the most painful and critical area for us now. The better the communication – the more efficient the remote control.But we know how to deal with this challenge”, - concluded Mr. Pinskiy.

    Heike Deggim, Director of IMO Maritime Safety Division, supported the convoy idea: “I was especially interested in hearing about the Russian efforts regarding convoy operations. That’s the very interesting concept”. Also, she focusedthe necessity to scrutinize the effect of a-Navigation on safety of shipping with a limited number of crew onboard or in case of unmanned shipment:

    “Traditionally IMO instruments have been developed based on the assumption that crew are onboard a ship with a certain automation of system and services. Following the future implementation of autonomous systems this new concept is not limited to crew onboard, but also includes unmanned shipping. As such existing IMO instruments in the current form may prevent the realization of MASS operation. There are also many concerns on the effect of a-Navigation on safety of shipping. One of the main issues for discussions is the interaction between conventional shipsand autonomous ones”.

    “My strong belief is that remote operator, I mean requirements for certification, background, is one of the common gaps we need to address. There is a number of projects dealing with this problem in Europe and Russia trying to figure out the relevant level of professional background and experience. I am sure this issue shall be also covered by relevant regulations”, - added HenrikTunfors, Chair MASS Working Group of IMO's Maritime Safety Division.

    The online Conference on autonomous and remote navigation (a-Navigation) was organized on April 28, 2021, by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation with support of IMO and in partnership with the Industry Association MARINET and the a-Navigation Promotion Center “MARINET RUT”. The Conference gathered about 100 experts from various shipping and engineering companies, regulatory bodies and research centers worldwide.

    Image: IAA PortNews




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