Future of ships


its a bit theoretical when I’m sure the technology that will be used may not be invented yet?
We need to see what happens in 10 years when they go up the beach in Alang


Sorry, don’t let’s disturb you in your blissful pursuit of happiness.


A fjord near me and the centre of development of Maritime Technology will become an approved test area for autonomous ships : https://sysla.no/maritim/storfjorden-pa-sunnmore-blir-testfjord-autonome-skip/
That should increase the possibility that I will see such ships in my lifetime I.A.

PS> This fjord, or at least part of it, is regularly used to test and calibrate seismic equipment and for sea trials of newbuilt vessels from the many shipyards around.

It is also a much visited fjord by Cruise ships during the summer season:


A future for old VLCCs??: https://sysla.no/maritim/vil-forlenge-tankskips-levetid-ved-a-lage-vann/

First contracts comes from Bangladesh: https://sysla.no/maritim/na-tegner-det-endelig-mot-business-rense-tankskip/
Maybe they can stop breaking them and start doing something useful and non-pollution for a change?


Hydrogen as power for ships is where I see the future. Viking Cruises appears to have the same vision: http://gcaptain.com/viking-planning-worlds-first-liquid-hydrogen-powered-cruise-ship/?goal=0_f50174ef03-5f8791f1c6-169863069&mc_cid=5f8791f1c6&mc_eid=4674ba0fbe


Rolls-Royce and Google to work together to develop the AI bit required for the onboard systems: https://sysla.no/maritim/na-skal-rolls-royce-jobbe-med-google/
Is this going a little bit too fast for most seafarer’s liking??


Not for you. I’d say your at least half mast at this point


Well yes, but I’ll only have to last another few years to see the first autonomous ships being tested in the fjords around here. The development work is going on “next door” so to speak. (OK, I’m living abt. 250 m. away)


I knew Ombugge had a unnatural interest in this subject and now I see why:


From the above story:

Norwegian fertilizer producer announced the first-of-its-kind vessel in May in partnership with maritime technology company Kongsberg.

With Ombugge being Norway’s premier “fertilizer” exporter I see the connection now.


Ohh witty are we?? Actually I feel there are some worthy competition in the “fertilizer” department, so you don’t have to feel alone.

Actually my first ship as 3rd Mate was chartered by the forerunner to Yara, Norsk Hydro, to carry fertilizer from their Heroya factory to Denmark.

The Yara Birkeland will be operating from that same factory, but to nearby ports only, at least initially. Don’t be surprised if she gets joined by larger sisters for the Denmark trade soon though.


Rolls-Royce to Use Google Machine Learning in Quest for Autonomous Ships



Damn Europeans! Goodbye merchant marine.


I worked on the DARPA Autonomous Land Vehicle project when I was with Honeywell. I was googling around trying to refresh my memory about a particular issue when I came across this, from a guy who had worked for a competitor:

The DARPA Autonomous Land Vehicle (ALV) was a 12-foot tall, eight-wheeled robot with multiple sensors,
tasked to go from point A to point B without human intervention in the hills outside of Denver
in about 1985. This was a large applied research effort that presented many opportunities for unusual

In one such experience, I was called in, at the last minute, to help improve our ALV proposal. The proposal
was a 300-page document that segued smoothly from problem description to corporate capabilities and
managerial plan, omitting any mention of technical approach. This taught me a rule of thumb I have seen
validated many times: the larger the project (in dollars and scope), the poorer the technical proposal.

Dan Shapiro, “Three Anecdotes from the DARPA Autonomous Land Vehicle Project” AI Magazine 29, 2 (2008)

I think we should call this “Shapiro’s Law.” It certainly applies to the documentation cited in this thread.




Definitely an application of Shapiro’s Law. Gotta give you points for clicking on that PR fluff, I gave up.

To question technical details of the concept is to be accused of shortsightedness but to make the case using PR fluff pieces, announcements, marketing materials and buying the giant corporate players line (never mind they could be motivated by securing the next big grant form some government/tax payer initiative) is to be in the vanguard of the future.

Disclaimer for those subject to making false or unfounded attributions of concepts, ideas and words to anyone who looks deeper at this subject…Not to say R&D is bad, not to say ship design, construction and operation will not undergo changes in the future.

“Good propaganda fools the people who see it. Great propaganda fools the people who make it” Dan Neil, LA Times.


A few years ago LNG was all the rage for ferries in Norway. Now it is electric propulsion based on batteries, but that is likely to change to Fuel cells based Hydrogen:

Also offshore vessels have gone through the same process; first LNG and now batteries:

Why not go directly to Hydrogen??
Maybe because the infrastructure for supply of Hydrogen is not in place yet. It is under development though.


Will lethargic speed by which IMO operate when it comes to regulate new development in shipping lead to it’s demise??:


Demise of IMO or autonomous ships?

Depends on how much money is at stake and who gets it. The entire technology world will collapse long before regulators release their grip on anything.

A good example and one that impacts my business directly is the IMO and EPA regulation that states only an engine manufacturer can apply for an EIAPP certificate. With the imposition of the NOx ECAs engines above 130kW installed after 1 Jan 2016 are required to meet IMO Tier III (or EPA Tier 4) emissions limits.

The rules were developed before the technology existed to retrofit exhaust “scrubbers” which allow lower Tier engines to meet the lastest standards. At the time the rules were written the only way to meet standards was by internal engine design and.or aftertreatment systems designed specifically for a particular engine by or for the engine manufacturer.

Rewind to the sulfur wars of the early 2000s, because there was no way to limit SOx emissions other than limiting fuel sulfur content, EPA and IMO allowed the emissions control industry to develop and install scrubbers on the stack. Those systems are not part of the engine, they clean the exhaust and anyone who can make a better scrubber is allowed to fit it, show it works, and recieve the blessing of the regulators to operate in the SECAs.

But, here we are now with NOx ECAs and the engine manufacturers are not interested in building or certifying the range of engines required by a large number of vessels. When they do offer an aftertreatment system it is usually so large that it will not fit in older vessels or they require a massive redesign of new builds.

It appears to me that the regulators are more interested in their own regulations (to the benefit of a very few manufacturers) than in the purpose of those regulations. If emissions are the purpose of the regs why is the industry constrained by outdated rules that limit who and how that purpose can be accomplished?

Maybe it will be different with autonomous ships since the industry players have pockets deep enough to buy the regulations needed to sell the hardware.


You are an old cynic.
But yes, IMO and other regulatory bodies do work slower then the technology and reality in the industries they are supposed to regulat. Not sure if buying regulators will work everywhere, but some places, yes.

Will that stop development? No, but it MAY slow it down, or even stop it, in some jurisdictions. Ones the laggards realize that they have been left behind, they will try to catch up. But it may be too late.

As for autonomous ships; that development will continue where technology developers and authorities cooperate, but will probably be limited to local and short sea operations and slowed down by the said lethargy from spreading to international trade across oceans for quite some time.


I didn’t mean small time bribery and local corruption. Companies like Rolls Royce have very deep pockets and access to government that transcends mere bribery. Remember the old saying “What’s good for General Motors is good for the US” applies here. If the corporate giants want the rules changed in their favor, they will be changed.

Not all that old but have had a cynical view of politics and policy for a long long time.


Ye I agree “influence corruption” is wide spread and hard to root out, especially when it is institutionalized through a multi-billion dollar lobbying operation, like in the US. It is also hard to prosecute, since there are no “brow envelope” changing hands.

Rolls-Royce is indeed a large global player, but mainly in the Aerospace and Naval industries.
Their Marine division has operations in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Holland and service centers all over the world:

Rolls-Royce Marine AS is their civilian maritime arm, with HQ in Ulsteinvik, Norway:

They are indeed powerful within the Maritime Cluster around Aalesund and in Norway, but I doubt that they have enough power to sway the Norwegian Political and/or Maritime Authorities.

The history of how RRM became a major player in Marine Propulsion,Equipment and Ship Design in Norway and the world, especially within the Offshore, Fishery and Special vessels sector, is quite interesting.
Here is the short of it:

What it doesn’t say is that with this purchase came the right to the UT designs, Bergen Diesel, Brattvaag Hydraulic winches and many more well know brands.