“IMO has embarked on the development of goal-based regulations for maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) after it completed the regulatory scoping exercise (RSE). The groundwork for MASS was laid during the development of the RSE with the identification of themes and/or potential gaps in existing IMO regulations to address MASS and to identify priorities for the work to be undertaken to ensure their safe operation. The prospect of autonomous shipping, even while still in its infancy, has begun to transform the industry and regulators alike. Drafting regulations for autonomous ships is a paradigm shift in many ways for the international global shipping regulator IMO. It is therefore that IMO is involving the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), the Legal Committee as well as the Facilitation Committee at this very early stage. The MSC agreed that for matters under its purview, a new goal-based mandatory MASS instrument is to be adopted by 2025 which is expected to enter into force in 2028.
This presentation will highlight the progress made by the IMO in addressing autonomous shipping from a regulatory perspective taking a goal-based approach and the challenges it has to overcome in the transformation from the vast majority of existing prescriptive regulations to regulations based on goals, functional requirements
Dr. Sascha Pristrom is a master mariner with 10 years experience at sea on various types of ships, including tanker, container, conbulk, ro-ro and ro-pax ships. He joined IMO in 2007, initially in the Maritime Security Section of the Maritime Safety Division, later changed to Operational Safety (e-navigation, seafarer training and certification) and for the last 4 years in the Marine Technology and Cargoes Sub-Division.
He holds a Ph.D. in onboard assessment of damage stability on board ro-pax ships and a Ph.D. on maritime security, as well as a Master’s degree in International shipping. He has been involved in IMO’s work on SOLAS, the Polar Code, goal-based ship construction standards, maritime security (ISPS Code and related guidance, piracy), as well as e-navigation and STCW. In order to keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry, he sailed on an ULCC (2018) and on a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker in 2019.