Threats and challenges to maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS): role of law enforcement agencies
Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) are vessels that are capable of operating without human intervention. They are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of industries, including shipping, fisheries, and defense. However, there are several threats and challenges that MASS must overcome in order to be fully operational and safe. In this paper, we will discuss the role of law enforcement agencies in addressing these threats and challenges.
The main challenges facing MASS is the risk of collisions. MASS vessels rely on sophisticated navigation systems and sensors to avoid other vessels and obstacles. However, these systems can be subject to errors or malfunctions, which can lead to collisions. To mitigate this risk, law enforcement agencies can play a key role in enforcing regulations related to MASS navigation, such as maintaining a safe distance from other vessels and following established shipping lanes.
Another challenge is the risk of cyber attacks on MASS systems. As MASS vessels rely heavily on computer systems for navigation and control, they are vulnerable to hacking and other forms of cyber attacks. Such attacks can compromise the integrity of the navigation systems, potentially causing collisions or other accidents. Law enforcement agencies can work to prevent cyber attacks by monitoring for suspicious activity and working to identify and prosecute those responsible.
In addition to these risks, MASS also face legal and regulatory challenges. The laws and regulations governing the operation of MASS vessels are still evolving, and there is a lack of clear guidance on how to address issues such as liability in the event of an accident involving a MASS vessel. Law enforcement agencies can play a key role in working with regulators and industry stakeholders to develop clear and effective regulations for MASS operations.
An example of a law enforcement agency taking actions to address these challenges is the U.S Coast Guard. The U.S Coast Guard has been working with industry stakeholders to develop guidelines for the testing and operation of MASS vessels. They also have been working to develop regulations to ensure the safe navigation of MASS vessels. They also have been working to increase awareness of cyber security issues and to develop strategies to protect MASS vessels from cyber attacks.
MASS vessels have the potential to revolutionize the maritime industry, but they also face a number of threats and challenges. Law enforcement agencies can play a critical role in addressing these challenges by enforcing regulations related to MASS navigation, preventing cyber attacks, and working with regulators and industry stakeholders to develop clear and effective regulations for MASS operations. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to stay current with the latest developments in MASS technology and to take a proactive role in addressing the challenges facing these vessels.
U.S Coast Guard. (2021). Autonomous Maritime Systems. Retrieved from https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisition-CG-9/Surface-Forces-Logistics-Center-SFLC/Autonomous-Maritime-Systems/
International Maritime Organization. (2021). Autonomous Ships. Retrieved from https://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safety/Navigation/Pages/Autonomous-Ships.aspx
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2021). Autonomous Surface Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.ocean.noaa.gov/technology/tools/autonomous-vehicles/surface-vehicles