THE Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has questioned the Australian Maritime Authority’s (AMSA) motivations on its stance on allowing automated vessels in Australian waters.
Lloyd’s List (international) recently reported that AMSA chief Mick Kinley had granted a request for the operation of a remotely-operated hydrographic vessel, and went on to say that AMSA would be open to allowing an unmanned cargo vessel to operate in Australian waters should the Authority be asked to grant such a request.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the story was of grave concern.
“It is highly hypocritical for AMSA to sit on the sideline while Australian shipping is being dismantled while leading the pack on ships with no one in them,” he said.
Mr Crumlin pointed out that the recent Senate inquiry into so-called flag-of-convenience shipping heard that foreign crews pose risks to Australia’s coastline due to their lack of knowledge of local conditions.
“At face value, putting robots in charge seems even worse – you would have to very, very sure that the automated systems work in all conditions in order to prevent an environmental disaster on the Great Barrier Reef or elsewhere,” he said.