Maritime Lawyers Call For Ratification of Autonomous Vessel Convention

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By Godwin Oritse

 

The Nigerian Maritime Law Association, NMLA,  has said that Nigeria needs to work ahead of 2028 adoption of the use of  Autonomous vessel convention with a view to adopting growing changes in the shipping industry.

Autonomous cargo ships, also known as autonomous container ships or Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships, MASS, are crewless vessels that transport either containers or bulk cargo over navigable waters with little or no human interaction.

Speaking to Vanguard on sidelines of the just concluded Annual General Meeting of the group, it’s President, Mrs. Funke Agbo said that he adoption of automated vessels is the one of major change that will shape the future of shipping globally adding that Nigeria must not be left behind in this change.

Agbo also said similar technologies were being experienced in both the automobile and aviation sectors adding it was only a matter of time before this new experience is extended to shipping sector.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN also disclosed that countries were already considering legislature  that will guide the operation of Autonomous vessels adding that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this new technology that is about to change the mode of international shipping.

She said: “You know the world is ever changing, there are new innovations and technology is driving everything and it has impact globally and autonomous vessels will become the new means of shipping goes round the world.

“There are driverless vehicles and for instance in the aviation, you have drones that sort things that has to do with agriculture. They are able to go far. And so, in the shipping space, they are looking at the same thing and discussion has been going on for sometime.

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“It looks like there is a legislature they are trying to put in place as treaties for countries to consider, that is the way to go and the idea is to to have vessels that are not driven by human beings.

“The ultimate is that a vessel going from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ with nobody on board is carrying goods and all kinds of cargoes and you have people on shore directing such vessels.

She also disclosed that the group is ready to help the government of Nigeria to fine-tune its law so as to align with the new convention.

(Vanguard)

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