Autonomous Ships and the Law

Page 222

Chapter 14

Moving forward by looking back: Insuring autonomous vessels under English hull and machinery cover and law

Meixian Song

1 Introduction

The transition from sail to steam in the 19th century was a significant event in ocean transport, as the method of propulsion is decisive for a ship’s maneuverability and navigation. The response to steam navigation in English marine insurance came in the form of individual clauses, which supplemented and adjusted the Lloyd’s SG policy-based contract.1 More recent technological advances in marine navigation have seen the advent of automated, remote-controlled, and autonomous ships. Essentially, technology in the maritime transport domain has led to improved production, lower costs, and reduced delivery schedules. However, it has also opened the door to new threats and vulnerabilities, as equipment becomes accessible to outside entities.2

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