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The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima

The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima
The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima
The state of technology is such that unmanned ships are now a realistic prospect. This includes remote-controlled ships and fully autonomous ships. The operation of each presents unique challenges to regulators and other users of the sea. This article considers the ways in which unmanned ships may be integrated within the existing maritime regulatory framework and assesses the ability of such ships and their operators to comply with its requirements. The article argues that, because the onboard presence of seafarers is not an express prerequisite to “ship” status, under the various available definitions of the term, unmanned “ships” could be accommodated within the existing legal framework with small modifications. It argues that the level of autonomy of an unmanned ship has a profound bearing on its ability to comply with the requirements of this framework and that regulatory guidance on safe unmanned operations and the development of international consensus is essential in order to facilitate the use of the technology in world trade. To the extent that the new technology is commercially beneficial, its use will prevail and either a regulatory regime will need to be developed or the existing one will need to be adjusted. Within this context it is suggested that the main existing legal framework can be interpreted in a way that permits the inclusion of ships into the existing framework and that this is the easier way forward.
0306-2945
303-335
Veal, Robert
0a5c3c23-1619-4f9b-9226-37418dbc796e
Tsimplis, Michael
df6dd749-cda4-46ec-983c-bf022d737031
Veal, Robert
0a5c3c23-1619-4f9b-9226-37418dbc796e
Tsimplis, Michael
df6dd749-cda4-46ec-983c-bf022d737031

Veal, Robert and Tsimplis, Michael (2017) The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima. Lloyd's Maritime & Commercial Law Quarterly, 2017, 303-335.

Record type: Article

Abstract

The state of technology is such that unmanned ships are now a realistic prospect. This includes remote-controlled ships and fully autonomous ships. The operation of each presents unique challenges to regulators and other users of the sea. This article considers the ways in which unmanned ships may be integrated within the existing maritime regulatory framework and assesses the ability of such ships and their operators to comply with its requirements. The article argues that, because the onboard presence of seafarers is not an express prerequisite to “ship” status, under the various available definitions of the term, unmanned “ships” could be accommodated within the existing legal framework with small modifications. It argues that the level of autonomy of an unmanned ship has a profound bearing on its ability to comply with the requirements of this framework and that regulatory guidance on safe unmanned operations and the development of international consensus is essential in order to facilitate the use of the technology in world trade. To the extent that the new technology is commercially beneficial, its use will prevail and either a regulatory regime will need to be developed or the existing one will need to be adjusted. Within this context it is suggested that the main existing legal framework can be interpreted in a way that permits the inclusion of ships into the existing framework and that this is the easier way forward.

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The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima (Revised) - Accepted Manuscript
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R Veal M Tsimplis The integration of unmanned ships into the lex maritima 2017 LMCLQ 303 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 May 2017
Published date: 9 May 2017
Organisations: Law C, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 411256
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411256
ISSN: 0306-2945
PURE UUID: 0fd9a5ad-b300-46ec-a812-03d93e99022c
ORCID for Robert Veal: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6118-8658

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 23 Feb 2021 02:41

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