Automation Conference Concludes – Seafarers are Necessary
The International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) held its 2019 conference focusing on the Human Element in Marine Automation, in the Ageas Bowl Southampton on 11th April. Over 150 delegates met, from both the shipping and non-shipping industries, to look at the future of onboard operations and the role of seafaring over the next 30 years. 24 speakers took to the stage over the course of the day, to address issues from regulation and accident investigation, to technological business models. The conference finished with a panel made up of cadets from both the UK and the Ukraine, who represented the professionals who will lead the change over the next 30 years.
Whilst the conference looked at the exciting developments taking place in the industry at this moment, the underlying principle that transpired through the day, was that seafarers should not be worried about their future careers. The delegates heard that, whilst there were unmanned vessels being trialled even in British waters at present, the complexity of designing and operating a fully unmanned deep sea vessel was vast and would require human interaction for a long time yet, albeit of a different nature to what we are used to.
The conference analysed how the role of tomorrow’s seafarer will undoubtedly change. More sophisticated technology will be implemented onboard, having the positive effect of making the industry more attractive to tech-savvy school leavers. Maritime training will therefore have to keep evolving, to ensure tomorrow’s officers will not only be able to use the technology, but be able to make good decisions if it fails.