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Wilhelmsen Ship Management aiming to shape regulatory framework in autonomous shipping

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Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) has entered into two agreements that it believes will set the tone for the operational and regulatory framework in autonomous shipping.

The first agreement focuses on the development of a safety management system while the second agreement is for the development of future competence.

The safety management system agreement was entered into with DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) whereby the parties will collaborate to support WSM’s ambition to develop an efficient safety management system (SMS) for operating autonomous, remotely controlled and remotely supported vessels.

The competence agreement with DNV GL and the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) was entered to develop competence solutions required in a shore control centre to manage and operate autonomous, remotely controlled and remotely supported vessels.

“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,” said Carl Schou, President & CEO of WSM.

The development will be spearheaded from the management centre based in Lysaker, Norway.

“There will be an unprecedented reliance on machineries and systems working seamlessly together with utmost reliability. Decision-making will be data driven and calculated with upmost precision. Having the right competencies skill sets, operational processes, vessel maintenance philosophy and culture in place will be critical to embracing this shift,” said Haakon Lenz, Vice President for WSM Region Europe & Americas.

“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. The ability to utilise these opportunities with an effective management system, ensuring safety at the same or a higher level will be a game changer and we in DNV GL are aiming to be at the forefront of this work. The partnerships with important companies such as WSM, government agencies and universities as we have in this work, will enable us to further develop standards, services, solutions and relations which are important for us and our customers,” said Marianne Valderhaug, Director of Operations in DNV GL.

“We have a strong belief that autonomous systems are the future and USN wish to take part in the journey towards realising that future. Through this agreement of cooperation with the maritime sector [Wilhelmsen/DNV GL], we increase our commitment to another level in research on how such technology can be use in an efficient and safe manner,” said Assistant Professor Tor Erik Jensen from USN.

WSM expects to implement the SMS and obtain a certified document of compliance by the end of 2019.

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