Autonomous shipping could revolutionise sector

Autonomous vessels could “improve maritime safety and revolutionize movement of cargo on a scale not seen since containerization,” according to the newly released annual Allianz Global Safety and Shipping Review 2017.

According to the report, human error accounts for approximately 75% of the value of almost 15 000 marine liability insurance claims analysed over five years.

The value of the claims is over US$1.6bn.

It is forecast that a remotely-operated local vessel could be in operation by 2020, according to the report.

“Safety considerations will be crucial to the development of autonomous shipping with concern about the potential for collision between manned and unmanned vessels and challenges around regulation and liability issues.

“A critical element will be whether there will be sufficient backup if things go wrong,” it states.

Another major concern is cyber-security.

“To date, most attacks have been aimed at breaching corporate security, rather than taking control of the vessel but there are concerns that a major cyber-attack of this nature could occur in future,” warns Allianz.

Cyber-security, and training for prevention and protection, will be one of the topics at the SAIMI conference on “Maritime Education and Training in the Digital Era” from 14-17 November 2017 in Cape Town”.

Contact Tanaka Mugabe for more information on the conference on 041 504 4038 or

About The Author

Issued by Siyathetha Communications on behalf of the South African International Maritime Institute.

SAIMI Project Manager: Odwa Mtati – 082 783 6810
Siyathetha: Ed Richardson: +27 41 582 3750 / 083 656 9757