At the behest of Professional Mariner and many other interested parties within and outside of the maritime industry, I’ve been asking many questions about maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) relating to safety, security, and future maritime careers. I have sought answers from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd), and sources in the private sector. I have only been moderately successful due to the simple fact that the above-named agencies and others don’t have a lot of answers to give.
In fairness to most of them, I must say that they are at least seeking many of the same answers that I am. Many of them are currently running their own MASS studies or are participating in others, some of which include MASS test zones known as marine autonomy research sites (MARS). I did manage to get some answers at the last Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) webinar, at which I have been a panel speaker several times in the past. The guest speaker at the Sept. 17 session was Lt. Matthew Meacham of the Coast Guard’s Office of Design and Engineering Standards, who identified a MARS zone on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior that is of great interest to the service.
Development of this particular zone originated at Michigan Technological University. The school operates the Great Lakes Research Center, which is a member of the Smart Ships Coalition. The coalition consists of academic institutions, state and federal agencies, international organizations, and private-sector entities that wish to study and promote marine autonomous technologies. The MARS zone created at the school is said to enjoy the benefits of highly accurate GPS data to aid in the collection of MASS information.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Mariner's role still unknown as autonomous shipping gains speed
Mariners’ role still unknown as autonomous shipping gains speed
CAPTAIN MURCHISON - Texas Game Wardens gain crime-fighting advantage in the Gulf of Mexico
It’s a cat-and-mouse game on the high seas: Unlicensed commercial fisher-men from Mexico head north into Texas waters in small, swift boats called “lanchas,” hoping to catch a haul of seafood before the authorities catch them.
Piracy edges closer to home with wave of raids in southern Gulf
In the brief cellphone video recorded by a crewmember on the offshore supply vessel (OSV) Remas, the pirates walk back and forth on the deck of the ship, clenching their guns and using them to point as they order around the crew. Their faces are draped in clothing and bandanas.
MADONNA - Madonna adds flexibility, ice-breaking capacity for Wisconsin operator
For most of this century, the Washington Island Ferry Line had a single icebreaking vessel available for winter runs across Lake Michigan’s Death’s Door Passage. The arrangement caused some sleepless nights for company President Hoyt Purinton.
NTSB: Dredge hit Texas gas pipeline, causing fire that killed four
FERRIES/EXCURSION - COVID-19 threatens once-robust passenger vessel market
The passenger boat market has been relatively strong over the past few years, driven largely by ferry operators on all three coasts replacing older vessels and adding to existing fleets. Meanwhile, the relatively robust economy stoked demand for new excursion and tourist vessels.
IMO emissions report raises new concerns about methane slip
A recent report from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reveals that global shipping emissions increased nearly 10 percent from 2012 to 2018, with the industry facing a growing challenge concerning methane slip.
Matson continues fleet renewal with versatile Kanaloa-class ships
Matson Navigation has a proud history in the Pacific dating back more than a century. The 870-foot container/roll-on, roll-off (conro) Lurline will build on that legacy well into the future.
Bay State brothers find industry niche by making old into new
Zero non-conformities is what you want to hear when the U.S. Coast Guard inspects your tugboat. Once you’ve prepared your vessel, the inspectors come aboard to peruse your paperwork. They ask you pointed questions, to which they expect straightforward answers. Perusal completed, they then scrutinize all of the related safety systems, from bilge to antennas — even the ship’s bell.
MEGAYACHTS - Megayacht demand remains strong in North America despite virus impacts
Twelve months ago, 2020 looked to be a banner year for megayachts. Sales were on the rise, clients were interested and yards were buzzing with projects. The 2019 fall boat shows, which informally kick off the yachting industry’s year, saw record attendance both in terms of exhibitors and visitors. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida reported that the 2019 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show brought in more than $715 million in sales.
Resurgence in round the world races
A clutch of ‘budget friendly’ new round the world races for sailor-owners has tapped into renewed enthusiasm for adventure and endurance sailing. All three new events are set to take off in 2023.
DARING TO DREAM
A RECORD FLEET OF 33 SKIPPERS WILL LINE UP IN THIS YEAR’S VENDEE GLOBE. PIP HARE EXPLAINS HOW IT FEELS TO BE ONE OF THEM...
ON THE LIMIT
THIS YEAR’S VENDÉE GLOBE IS A RACE FOR FUTURISTIC FLYING MACHINES. HELEN FRETTER AND ANDI ROBERTSON TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
HOW MODERN AUTOPILOTS CAN BE YOUR BEST HELMSMAN, BY MATTHEW SHEAHAN
FINE ART: CHISELING A COMPETITION-QUALITY UPPER BODY
How physique competitor Osamoje Imoohi shaped his mind and impressive body through fitness.
I Wish Someone Would Invent...
Palmer's Super Saturday
A high-achieving mare, a venue specialist and a popular Pony Club district commissioner are in the ribbons
ESCAPE TO THE STARS
A gang of female convicts make a break for freedom in futuristic thriller Intergalactic
AND THE WINNER IS…
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 rode away with the IMOTY 2021 crown
My 12-year-old had OVARIAN CANCER
Doctors thought Jenny Robinson’s daughter was going through puberty. The truth was far more frightening