Setfords marine legal expert to explore law of unmanned ships at international conference

Setfords maritime law and insurance risk specialist, Andrew M Higgs, is to speak at the German British Forum (GBF) in November about the legal implications of new unmanned ships, an emerging technology which is causing waves in the shipping sector.

Currently there is no clear and obvious legal and regulatory framework for autonomous, unmanned or remotely-controlled merchant ships sailing in international waters. But with unmanned ships promising fewer accidents and human injuries at sea, and lower operating costs, this is set to change. Manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce are investing in prototype merchant ships making the vision of unmanned ships delivering goods worldwide ever-closer, with implications for ship-to-shore communications. 

As part of the Digitalisation and Future of Work conference, Andrew will address:

  • The human element of unmanned ships and autonomous waterborne craft.
  • The upcoming UK Code of Practice and implications of the emerging technology.
  • The role of cyber security and data protection in developing safe unmanned shipping.
  • The role of insurance (marine and non-marine).

With a focus on the digitalisation of work, the GBF conference will address the challenges and opportunities for international trade and transport under the new rules of the digital world.

Other speakers include Chuka Umunna MP, Dr Peter Ammon, German Ambassador to the UK, Jurgen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, and Dieter Geus, Director BMW.

With 35 years at the forefront of legal risk management, focusing on international maritime law, Andrew represented the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for five years between 2008 and 2013. Andrew has spoken at the Houses of Parliament and since 2016 has been an active contributor to the IMO’s regulatory review of unmanned ships through the UK Government’s Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Working Group.

Andrew is due to speak at the German British Forum Conference on Tuesday 14 November 2017, during the afternoon session.