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Chircop, A. Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels. German Yearbook of International Law, 60(1), 109-142.
Chircop, Aldo. "Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels" German Yearbook of International Law 60.1, , 109-142.
Chircop, Aldo: Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels, in: German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 60, iss. 1, 109-142, [online]


Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels

Chircop, Aldo

German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 60 (2018), Iss. 1 : pp. 109–142

9 Citations (CrossRef)

Additional Information

Article Details


Author Details

Aldo Chircop, Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Maritime Law and Policy, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Canada.

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International shipping is on the eve of a new era where remotely controlled and partially or fully automated and unmanned Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) will be carrying international trade. The regulation of navigation and shipping in the contemporary international law of the sea and international maritime law are premised on human presence and control on-board ships. Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and several maritime conventions will need to be revisited to determine how MASS may be accommodated and, where not possible, what further legal development may be needed. Recently, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to address the expected regulatory impacts of these ships and to prepare an agenda for their proactive regulation. This article explores regulatory impacts that would need to be considered and argues that MASS have the potential to provide new directions for international law and the IMO.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Aldo Chircop: Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels 1
I. Introduction 1
II. Technology and Terminology 7
III. Implications for the International Law of the Sea 1
A. Flag State 1
B. Coastal State 1
C. Port State 1
IV. Implications for International Maritime Law 2
A. Maritime Safety 2
B. Crew Training, Certification, and Work Conditions 2
C. The ‘Rules of the Road’ 2
D. Environment Protection 2
V. Discussion 2
VI. Conclusion 3