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South Korea launches container ship for autonomous operations

On 8 March 2024 South Korea launched a container ship that will promote autonomous shipping operations. The nation’s Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries described the ship as the first oceangoing vessel for Level Three autonomous shipping.

There are plans to undertake the first demonstration of autonomous shipping with this ship in the latter part of the year.

The country’s Hyundai Mip Dockyard Co held the vessel’s christening event, with the 1,800TEU vessel being named Pos Singapore. It will be handed to Pan Ocean Co by the end of this month.

The order for this ship was placed in 2022. It is 172m in length and is registered in Liberia. The 22,200 DWT container ship will be handed to its owner and will undergo outfitting and trials for the autonomous system.

The Government of South Korea emphasised that autonomous ships were the main goal in the Advanced Maritime Mobility Development Strategy, which was announced in 2023. The autonomous shipping project was launched in 2020, and the government gave over $120 million for research and development of these technologies.

According to the ministry, the ship is designed to function autonomously without any crew, and its operations would be controlled by a remote control. From its designing phase, Hyundai Mipo and Pan Ocean completed the preparations for installing the autonomous navigation system, which would now be installed on the ship.

The system includes autonomous navigation, communication, security technologies, and advanced digital agency monitoring systems. South Korea has tested several autonomous systems over the last few years.

In 2022, Hyundai undertook the world’s first transoceanic journey of a commercial ship using autonomous navigation. The system was installed on the 97,500dwt LNG Carrier, covering over 11,000 nautical miles of the Pacific. The trials for the new version of this technological system began in 2023 onboard the comparatively small 69-ton ship Ocean Nuri. The plan is that Pos Singapore will conduct its first trials on an international shipping route in September 2024.

Ships Montly - January 2024

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