The thought of unmanned cargo ships sounds like a ghost story. Wrong! This is actually the future of shipping.
Rolls Royce is working with groups backed by governments across northern Europe. Rolls Royce aims to launch crewless ships by 2020.
Sea transport costs could thus be cut by about 20%.
Major shipping firms are expected to adopt this technology hoping that it will boost profits.
The U. S. Coast Guard estimated that human error is responsible for about 96 percent of all marine casualties. Piracy is a reality so crews remain vulnerable. Furthermore there is a shortage of skilled workers who want a career at sea.
44 per cent of a ship’s costs is made up of carrying sailors. This includes not only salaries but crews’ quarters and air-conditioning units. Other amenities take up space which could be used for cargo.
25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are a result of maritime shipping. Rolls Royce predicts that unmanned cargo ships will be 5 per cent lighter and burn 15 per cent less fuel.
Unmanned cargo ships will therefore present challenges for insurers. They will have to consider new types of risks. The demand for guards protecting ships from piracy will be reduced. This is an industry that has been booming in the last few years. However, there would be a need for increased cyber security insurance.
Marine insurers have approximately 5 years to work out the costs of covering unmanned cargo ships for risks that can occur at sea. Without historical data to fall back on will complicate the process of underwriting the risks of unmanned ships.
A drone vessel that is being operated remotely from onshore will create unique challenges. These threats include pirates, a fire at sea and the time it takes to reach a ship if a computer malfunctions. There would n’t be anyone if there was a breakdown. Help for a ship in the Atlantic could be done in one week, but in the Pacific that would take a three week voyage.