Norway’s Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) has announced strategic partnerships with DNV GL, Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) and with University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) aimed at developing autonomous shipping.
According to a statement, the two agreements will help to establish an operational and regulatory framework for autonomous ships. The first focuses on the development of a safety management system (SMS), while the second concerns future competence.
The safety management system agreement requires each party to collaborate in the development of an efficient safety management system (SMS) for operating autonomous, remotely controlled and remotely supported vessels and has been signed by WSM, DNV GL and NMA.
Additionally a future competence agreement has also been signed with DNV GL and USN to develop the solutions required for a shore control centre to manage and operate autonomous vessels.
Carl Schou, President and CEO of WSM, commented: “This is an exciting chapter for WSM as regulations governing autonomous shipping are still in their infancy and WSM will play a key role in shaping the future role of ship managers and the regulatory framework. From a ship manager’s perspective, this will be a game changer in the way WSM operates today. As a pioneer in this field, our strategic alliance with DNV GL, NMA and USN is crucial to ensure a holistic development of the new, one of a kind document of compliance.”
Marianne Valderhaug, Director of Operations at DNV GL, added: “Efficiency in management and operation of shipping companies and vessels is high on the agenda in the industry and we in DNV GL will support our customers in making use of opportunities. Digital solutions and developments on autonomy will enable the maritime industry to develop and implement measures for improved efficiency ashore and on board.”
While talks between Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg began last autumn over the new joint-venture company Massterly, the two joined forces to create the world’s first autonomous shipping company in April. WSM expects to implement the SMS and obtain a certified document of compliance by the end of 2019. The development will be spearheaded from the management centre based in Lysaker, Norway.