Introduction

In a capitalist world, making money and remaining competitive for a company is the goal. As technology has progressed, autonomous systems and machinery have been introduced into all areas of different industries to cut costs and maximise profits for company owners and shareholders. Simply put, the introduction of some form of autonomous technology into any industry is inevitable.

MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through intelligent Networks), a collaborative research project co-funded by the European Commissions, is seeking to develop and verify a concept for an autonomous ship i.e unmanned. Independently, companies such as Kongsberg and Rolls-Royce have their own research and development projects with the aim to do the same thing.

The development of autonomous vessels is mainly driven in the hope that ship owners/operators/managers can reduce operating costs, such as crew and crew related costs. Through research carried out on unmanned vessels, it has been concluded by the author of this survey that the introduction and subsequent industry adoption of autonomous ship technology will clearly lead to mass crew unemployment.

In a speech by Nautilus International General Secretary Mark Dickinson to the IHS Markit Maritime & Trade Risk Forum on 24 January 2017, he states ' A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum warned that the rise of robots will lead to a net loss of more than five million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020. In the UK alone, the Bank of England has forecast that 15 million jobs are at risk from automation, and Deloitte predicted that robots could replace more than one-third of all jobs over the next two decades' and that 'For Nautilus, as an organisation representing maritime professionals, the need to get people onto the agenda is vital'.

More specifically, the report by the WEF which Mark Dickinson has quoted, has stated that '….....current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labour market changes over the period 2015–2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs' - (World Economic Forum. 2016. The future of Jobs, page 1).

From the above, this is clearly an upcoming issue worth further study which will require a solution; but what is the solution?

The following survey is a simple set of 10 questions to gain a general 'snap shot' insight into the thoughts of individuals within the Maritime Industry at different levels and areas of work concerning the issues surrounding Unmanned Autonomous Ships. Please proceed to the next page to carry out the survey.

 

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