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Autonomous Vessels come to the yachting market : 3 MAY POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND !

01/12/2021

Yachting

You may have a toy or tender that is being commanded from far. Rules applicable on autonomous vessels may be applicable ! On 21st October 2021, new French rules have been enacted on those as autonomous vessels were not taken into account until recently.

1.What is an autonomous vessel ?

This is defined as a vessel operated remotely or by its own operating systems, whether or not there are seafarers on board.

2.Is there any “Captain” ?

YES! The captain of an autonomous vessel is the person who exercises command of the autonomous vessel (also called maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS)).

The Captain is considered by French law as a seafarer and French labour law may be applicable, even if the Captain is onboard the vessel!

3.Wich law apply when ?

French law apply to :

  • autonomous vessels flying the French flag (notwithstanding their location) ;
  • autonomous vessels flying a foreign flag navigating in French waters.

Autonomous vessel may be granted with an authorisation for 2 years (renewable) to be exempt from complying with specific safety and pollution rules usually required for vessels, because of their operation conditions and for experimental purposes.

How to anticipate? Think about this :

  1. Which rules are applicable in case of damage on another boat, on a person, …?
  2. Which insurance regime applies? Few insurers have drafted specific policies for autonomous vessels.
  3. What are the qualifications required for the captain? Any specific training?

Think also about drones which are subject to similar rules !

Our team remain at your disposal for any question on a seafarer, tax, navigation rules, insurance, criminal issue and more.

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