Technology and training: How will deck officers transition to operating autonomous and remote-controlled vessels?

Alice Kennard, Pengfei Zhang, Sriram Rajagopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of autonomous and remote shipping is set to be complex and disruptive. It will question many of the legislative and training frameworks within the maritime industry. Despite the lack of legislation, development of autonomous and remote fleets is ongoing and as a result the new role of a Remote Operator has emerged. A Remote Operator is expected to be responsible for the safe navigation of an autonomous vessel remotely, either through monitoring or controlling the vessel from a Remote Operations Centre. Current Deck Officers are expected to transition to this new role, however the skills and training required to make the transition has not yet been identified. This thesis investigates the transition of skills and training from Deck Officer to Remote Operator, by identifying a Remote Operator skillset and skill gaps. Further investigation is conducted into the perception of autonomous and remote shipping among qualified Deck Officers and what opportunities and barriers they foresee. The project evaluates data from research conducted so far, specialist interviews and a Deck Officer Questionnaire. From the data collected Remote Operators will need a collection of seafaring experience, situational awareness and safety awareness to support the new role. Deck Officers opinions from the questionnaire were split between opportunity and threat, with many concerned for job loss but support the modernisation of the maritime industry. This investigation highlights the key role humans, in particular Deck Officers, will play in partnership with new technology and the importance of ensuring the work force is ‘future proof’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2022


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