University of Tasmania

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Investigating Seafarer Training Needs for Operating Autononous Ships

posted on 2023-05-25, 20:05 authored by Gholam Reza EmadGholam Reza Emad

The fourth industrial revolution (called Industry 4.0) which started about a decade ago has and continue to transform all industrial sectors and society at large. Its impact on the shipping industry led to the emergence of the term Shipping 4.0, to reflect the technological changes that have radically transformed the industry. In this context of Shipping 4.0, recent years have witnessed an intensity of the automation debate, triggered by demand for high efficiency and pressures to decongest roads and reduce transport emissions. With few ship automation projects now completed and some still ongoing, it is envisaged that more and more automated systems will be installed on ships and in the near future shipping will witness unmanned ships controlled from shore-based stations.

Most of the emphasis has been on the technological developments that will mark this shift towards more automated and potentially unmanned ships. However, little emphasis has been on the training of seafarers that will operate these future ships. Nevertheless, empirical evidence from other literatures (e.g. aviation, nuclear energy generation, mining and broad human factor literature in general) have emphasised the need for proper training for automation technology users in order to avoid and mitigate the impacts of automation related accidents. It is thus critical to identify the new skills and competencies that seafarers of the future will need in order to operate highly automated ships either as crew members or from shore based operation centres.

The purpose of this project was thus to investigate the future training needs of seafarers for operating autonomous ships in order to provide IAMU members and maritime industry's key stakeholders (IMO, regulators) with guidelines and a recommendatory framework for training future operators of autonomous ships.


International Association of Maritime Universities


Publication title

IAMU 2019 Research Project Report

Commissioning body

International Association of Maritime Universities Secretariat




Australian Maritime College


International Association of Maritime Universities Secretariat

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Autonomous water vehicles

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    University Of Tasmania


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