Sea Machines brings the Seamen’s Union on board for an autonomous journey

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AMO Deck Officers Bridget Quinn and Adam Szloch remotely control the NELLIE BLY in Denmark from the Sea Machines control room in Boston. / Image source: US naval officers

Posted on Oct 7, 2021, 8:21 PM by

The maritime executive

Sea Machines Robotics has decided to ease social tensions over autonomous shipping by incorporating a maritime union into a one-of-a-kind autonomous journey around Denmark.

The Boston-based developer announced that it has entered into a working agreement with the United States Maritime Officers (AMO) to jointly undertake the multi-week 1,000 nautical mile voyage using a remotely controlled tugboat.

“AMO strives to anticipate and prepare for the future of the maritime industry, knowing that the implementation of the technology will take place in the not-so-distant future. Not preparing for the future means not participating in it, ”said Captain William Barrere, National Executive Vice President of AMO.

He added that the maritime union is working to define careers for future generations of merchant seamen through the agreement.

AMO, the largest union of merchant navy officers in the United States, wants to ensure the sailors it represents can continue to play a safe role in an evolving industry as new technologies are developed. and applied in the maritime industry.

Licensed US Coast Guard officers, represented by AMO, support Sea Machines’ autonomous journey around Denmark on a mission dubbed “The Machine Odyssey,” designed to prove that the waterways of the world are ready for long-term self-reliance. AMO officers will command the Nellie bly tugboat on its autonomous journey remotely from the Boston-based Sea Machines control center.

The officers received training before the trip began and will benefit from the support of Sea Machines’ engineering teams in Boston and Hamburg throughout the estimated three-week program.

In addition, the Nellie bly will still carry two safety captains on board, with occasional guest passengers, and will call at ports along the route to display and demonstrate the technology.

Sea Machines ‘decision to incorporate unions could help ease tensions with the International Longshoremens’ Association (ILA), which opposes automation as a threat to jobs. The ILA insists that its members will not service automated vessels operating without a crew.

“We envision a future in which autonomous technology can expand the world’s fleets and water transport systems, make water transport more versatile and competitive with other modes of transport, and expand the maritime workforce through the growth of the industry, thereby creating jobs, ”said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines.


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