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India readies itself for autonomous shipping

Autonomous newbuildings may be a new wave in India soon

After a keeling ceremony in August for 2 autonomous ships, the country’s Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), released a set of Guidelines on Remotely Operated Vessels and Autonomous Surface Vessels. The purpose was to provide a broad framework and philosophy for stakeholders involved in design, construction and testing of such vessels with varying levels of autonomy.

Setting the stage
Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), India’s largest commercial shipbuilder was commissioned by Norway-based company ASKO Maritime AS in 2020 to construct 2 vessels, with an option to build an additional 2. According to CSL, the roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessels are considered to be the first of their kind in the field of merchant shipping field. Both vessels will have full battery-electric propulsion, and designed for transporting trailers across Oslo Fjord between 2 of ASKO’s distribution centres. Partially funded by the Norwegian government, this project aims to enable emission-free transport of goods across the Oslo fjords.

As one of the world’s first autonomous shipbuilders, IRClass’ move suggested constructing autonomous vessels will be more frequent. N Girish, IRClass’ Chief Surveyor and Senior Vice President said, “These guidelines have been developed through close interactions with the industry and various stakeholders, and will continue to evolve. Vessels complying with these guidelines will be issued class notations as per their level of autonomy”.

This set of guidelines cover design philosophy, risk assessment, system requirements including cyber resilience, network architecture, data and software assurance. A separate chapter focuses on requirements of the Remote Control Centre, which has a critical role in monitoring and control of such vessels.


Marine Online News Team
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