RS to implement new requirements for Maritime Autonomous and Remotely Controlled Surface Ships

RS to implement new requirements for Maritime Autonomous and Remotely Controlled Surface Ships
Photo: Maritime Congress – the Russian Far East.

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) will incorporate new mandatory requirements for Maritime Autonomous and Remotely Controlled Surface Ships (MASS) and the technical means of operating autonomous vessels in Part XVII of the Rules for the Classification and Construction of Sea-Going Ships. Ships meeting the requirements will be assigned one of the new designated class notation marks.

The forthcoming changes in relation to MASS were announced by Vladimir Vikulin, Head of the Expertise and Engineering Department, at the conference Electronic Navigation and Control of Unmanned Vessels during the Maritime Congress – the Russian Far East. Changes to the RS regulatory and technical framework are expected to come into force on July 1, 2024. As explained by the RS expert, the provisions will clarify the terminology applicable to MASS, as well as introduce new categories of autonomy and distinguishing marks into the class notation of such vessels.

The new requirements are based on practical experience in certifying MASS and its equipment, including those created as part of the federal project Autonomous Shipping. Under the project, RS is active in the discussion of technical solutions advanced in the course of research and development, issues MASS statements of compliance and ones for remote control centers, performs approval in principle and certifies prototypes of domestic equipment, as well as reviews the design documentation for autonomous vessels under construction.

In 2023, RS surveyed the design and manufacture of more than 20 new domestic samples of shipborne and onshore radio communication and navigation equipment, certified a-Navigation and e-Navigation simulators for training MASS masters and crews, Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operators and personnel of MASS remote control centers. Statements of compliance with the Regulations for Classification of MASS have been issued for the ferries Marshal Rokossovsky, General Chernyakhovsky and respective remote control centers.

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Founded in 1913, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is a world-renowned classification society that operates within all spheres of the maritime industry. The organization’s main objectives are to enhance the safety standards of human life at sea, ensure the safe navigation of ships and the secure transportation of cargoes by sea and inland waterways, as well as to develop standards for environmental protection.

RS reviews technical documentation, surveys ships under construction and in service, issues documents and certificates for vessels, offshore facilities, ship machinery, equipment and devices; conducts measurements of ships and floating facilities; carries out surveys to ensure compliance with international conventions; certifies industrial products and manufacturers, quality management systems, sustainability management and occupational health and safety management systems in compliance with ISO standards. RS surveys general cargo containers, thermal containers, tank containers, platform containers, offshore containers, etc.