AUTOMATION can bring about large safety improvements for the maritime sector, says Francis Zachariae, the secretary-general of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).
Speaking to the NAV18 Symposium on the Gold Coast, Mr Zachariae drew comparisons with the safety improvements brought about by the introduction of automation in the world of aviation.
“In my view, what has really changed (in the world) is the elimination of the human factor.
“People make mistakes. That’s why I’m strongly (in favour of) automation. Not necessarily unmanned ships… I don’t think this will happen in my lifetime,” he said.
“But ships’ bridges as automated as an aeroplane’s cockpit.”
He noted 2017 was “the safest year” in the history of aviation.
“Thirty seven million take-offs and there were ten accidents. I think we have ten accidents at sea every hour. That is because, in my view, aviation succeeded in eliminating the human factor. A plane flies more or less by itself.”
Mr Zachariae urged industry to be “open to change” and “the new responsibilities that come with change”.
NAV18 is being held at the Sofitel Hotel in Broadbeach.