Autonomous Ships - Legal Issues

The interest in autonomous ships has grown exponentially in the past few years. Only five or so years ago, the prospect of unmanned and autonomous vessels sailing on the seas was not considered to be realistic, while now the debate centers on when and in what format and pace the development will take place. Law has a key role to play in this development and legal obstacles are often singled out as principal barriers to a rapid introduction of new technologies in this field. In a few years autonomous ships has turned from a non-issue to one of the main regulatory topics being addressed at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), but the discussion is still in its infancy.

 

Increased reliance on automation for tasks that have traditionally been undertaken by ships' crews raises interesting legal question across the whole spectrum of maritime law. From the law of the sea and IMO Conventions, which are crucial for enabling autonomy to be introduced in the first place, to essentially any aspect of private maritime law, including transport contracts, collision, salvage and marine insurance, the development will entail fundamental alterations to current practices.

 

Wednesday 12 June

9.00 -9.15

    Morning coffee & tea is served

 

Welcome

9.15-9.30

Welcome & introductory words

Henrik Ringbom, Trond Solvang &  Erik Røsæg

 

Law of the sea issues

9.30-10.00

Balancing interests of flag, coastal and port state for autonomous ships

Alla Pozdnakova, Professor, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo, Norway

 

10.00-10.30

UNCLOS, jurisdiction and choice of law in an autonomous shipping context

Kristina Siig, Professor, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

 

10.30-11.00

       Coffee break

 

IMO issues

11.00-11.30

The on-going Regulatory Scoping Exercise and outlooks for the future

Henrik Ringbom, Professor II, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo, Norway

 

11.30-12.00

Switching off regulatory requirements in relation to highly automated vessels:

Flag state exemptions as a tool to facilitate experiments

Frank Smeele, Professor, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 

12.00-13.00

      Lunch

 

Liability issues

13.00-13.30

Shipowner’s liability for damage caused by an unmanned ship under the Nordic maritime codes

Felix Collin, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Turku, Finland

 

13.30-14.00

Man, machine and culpa - some reflections

Trond Solvang, Professor, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo, Norway

 

14.00-14.30

Diabolus ex machina

Erik Røsæg, Professor, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo

 

14.30-15.00

       Coffee break

 

15.00- 15.30

Autonomous ships – from shipowner liability to producer’s liability in a Scandinavian perspective

Vibe Ulfbeck, Professor, Director of Centre for Enterprise Liability, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

 

Contract issues

15.30-16.00

Seaworthiness and good seamanship in the age of unmanned vessels

Frank Stevens, Assistant Professor, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 

16.00-16.30

The possible effects of degrees of autonomy in traditional chartering business - a discussion based upon some of the clauses in well known standard forms

Thor Falkanger, Professor Emeritus, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo, Norway

 

19.30

  Dinner at Restaurant Annen etage

 

Thursday 13 June

Insurance issues

9.30-10.00

Insurance of autonomous ships – what are the challenges?

Trine-Lise Wilhelmsen, Hans Jacob Bull, Professors Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo, Norway

 

 

10.00-10.30

P&I perspectives

Tim Howse, Vice President, Industry Liaison, Gard P&I Club, London

 

 

10.30-11.00

       Coffee break

 

 

11.00-11.30

Insuring robots

Mika Viljanen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Turku, Finland

 

 

11.30-12.00

From Sail, Steam to the Cyber Era—How Traditional the English Marine Insurance Law and Covers Are?

Meixian Song, Lecturer in Law, School of Law, University of Southampton, UK

 

 

12.00-13.00

      Lunch

 

 

Specific issues

13.00-13.30

Manning unmanned ships

Johan Schelin, Professor of Maritime Law, Stockholm University

 

 

13.30-14.00

Coastal authorities and concerns/opportunities linked to autonomous ships

Matti Eronen, Legal Councel, Finnish Transport Agency, PhD Candidate, University of Turku, Finland

 

 

14.00-14.30

Legal aspects of smart ports

 

Eric van Hooydonk, Port Law Professor, University of Ghent, Belgium

 

 

Concluding remarks

14.30-14.45

Concluding remarks

Henrik Ringbom, Trond Solvang &  Erik Røsæg

 

 

 

Not attending, but contributing to the book:

 

  • Martin Davies, Admiralty Law Institute Professor of Maritime Law, Director, Maritime Law Center, University of Tulane, US, Pilotage and automated ships
  • Hannu Honka, Professor Emeritus, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland: Autonomous ships and seaworthiness in the carriage of goods by sea
  • Robert Veal, Lecturer in Law, Institute of Maritime Law, University of Southampton, UK: Autonomous technology in shipping: a new dawn for products liability

 

Tags: Autonomous ships
Published May 23, 2019 12:56 PM - Last modified June 12, 2019 8:24 AM