IMO Seminar on Development of a Regulatory Framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)

Monday 5th – Tuesday 6th September 2022, IMO, Online



IMO MASS Seminar is an international two-day virtual conference, bringing together thought leaders from research, academia, business and government to discuss the big challenges and new approaches needed to create a new regulation, namely "MASS Code".  It is expected that sharing insights on regulatory barriers and uncertainties identified in the ongoing MASS projects can help to develop and establish the regulations to address MASS operations, and facilitate the discussion on how such obstacles can be overcome by establishing a MASS Code.

This Seminar will, among other MASS-related issues, provide a platform to recount the experience gained in the operation of MASS and how individual member States have addressed the matter in their national legislation.

This Seminar will cover a wide range of topics including:

1.    current MASS projects and lessons learned from their operation, including suggestions on functional or operational requirements;

2.    common legal barriers, uncertainties and opportunities for operating MASS, including operation within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS);

3.    key principles and a common understanding of the purpose and objectives for of the future IMO MASS Code and the novel approach to be taken to address MASS in an IMO goal-based regulatory framework; and

4.    any other relevant aspects to consider for concerning the safe and legally sound operation of MASS.


The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the IMO, at its 103rd session in May 2021, has completed a regulatory scoping exercise (RSE) to analyze relevant ship safety treaties, in order to assess how MASS could be regulated. The outcome highlights a number of high-priority issues to be addressed, cutting across several instruments, that involve, for instance, the development of MASS terminology and definitions, and addressing the functional and operational requirements for the MASS operation.

Based on the outcome of RSE, the MSC noted that the best way forward to address MASS in the IMO regulatory framework could, preferably, be in a holistic manner through the development of a goal-based MASS instrument. Such an instrument could take the form of a "MASS Code", and address the various gaps and themes identified by the RSE.

IMO Seminar on Development of a Regulatory Framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)

The full programme is available here:

5 and 6 September 2022

Online meeting

DAY 1 

Moderator: Henrik Tunfors, Maritime Safety Committee MASS WG Chair

11.00 – 11:05 a.m. 

Opening address

Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division

11.05 – 12.20 p.m.

Panel 1: Practical perspective of operating MASS 

  1. Anne Miettinen, Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications - Delineating MASS from conventional automation  01_Anne Miettinen_Delineating MASS from conventional automaiton.pdf
  2. Carlos F. Salinas, Spanish Maritima Safety Agency - COLREGS versus MASS: a need for understanding 02_Carlos F Salinas_COLREG versus MASS a need for understanding.pdf
  3. Khanssa Lagdami, World Maritime University - MASS operation and their impact on seafarers 03_Khanssa Lagdami_MASS operation and their impact on seafarers.pdf
  4. Ørnulf Jan Rødseth, SINTEF Ocean - Possible impact of MASS on IMO's facilitation activities 04_Possible impact of MASS on IMO facilitation activities.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (4 speakers with 15min + 15 min Q&A)

12.20 – 12.25 p.m.


12.25 – 1.40 p.m.

Panel 2: Industry perspective: Status report on MASS technology and outlook for future MASS operations

  1. Ann Till, Ocean Infinity/Sam Mayall, Zelim/Shepard Smith, XOCEAN/James Hopper, Sea-Kit/Nick Simmons, Fugro - An overview of current MASS operations, developments and challenges in UK waters 05_Ann Till etc_An overview of current MASS operations, developments and challenges in UK waters.pdf
  2. Hyogyeong Joo, Avikus - MASS Technology Development Status 06_Hyogyeong Joo_MASS Technology Development Status.pdf
  3. Wu Sun, IACS - Proposals on Framework of MASS Code 07_Wu Sun_Proposals on framework of MASS Code.pdf
  4. Carlos Barrera - Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) - Uncrewed Surface Vehicles Network Initiative in support to EOO: The EuroSea Project 08_Carlos Barrera_Uncrewed Surface Vehicles Network Initiative in support to EOO.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (4 speakers with 15min + 15 min Q&A)

1.40 – 1.45 p.m.


1.45 – 3.00 p.m.

Panel 3: Research and development

  1. Hideyuki Ando, Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) (NYK Group) - Development and Demonstration of Autonomous Ships in Japan 09_Hideyuki Ando_Development and Demonstration of Autonomous Ships in Japan.pdf
  2. Megumi Shiokari, National Maritime Research Institute - Japanese MASS R&D Projects and Approaches for Ensuring Safety 10_Megumi Shiokari_Japanese MASS R&D Projects and Approaches for ensuring safety.pdf
  3. Zaili Yang, Liverpool John Moores University - A study on maritime autonomous surface ship safety analysis 
  4. Jin Kim, Korea Autonomous Surface Ship (KASS) Project Office / KRISO - Progress of KASS Project and Validation Issues 12_Jin Kim_Progrees on KASS Project and validation issues.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (4 speakers with 15min + 15 min Q&A)

Closing Day 1


Moderator: Gillian Grant, Legal Committee Chair

11.00 – 11:05 a.m. 

Opening address

Frederick Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division

11.05 – 12.05 p.m.

Panel 4: Regulating MASS within the framework of UNCLOS

  1. Aldo Chircop, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University - MASS and the Law of the Sea 01_Aldo Chircop_MASS and the Law of the Sea.pdf
  2. Youri Van Logchem, Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law at Swansea University - MASS and the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention – A Paradigm Shift or Old Wine in New Wineskins? 02_Youri van Logchem_MASS and the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention – A Paradigm Shift or Old Wine in New Wineskins.pdf
  3. Murat Sumer, International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) - The Relevance of the Law of Treaties for integration of MASS into the international regulatory framework 03_Murat Sumer_The Relevance of the Law of Treaties for integration of MASS into the international regulatory framework.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (3 speakers with 15min + 15 min Q&A)

12.05 – 12.45 p.m.

Panel 5: Operating MASS: Legal issues related to communication and enforcement

  1. Robert Beckman, National University of Singapore (NUS) Centre for International Law - The Implications of MASS on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 04_Robert Beckman_The implication of MASS on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.pdf
  2. Anna Petrig, University of Basel - The relevance of a MASS Code for law enforcement at sea 05_Anna Petrig_The relevance of a MASS Code for law enforcement at sea.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (2 speakers with 15min + 10 min Q&A)

12.45 – 12.50 p.m.


12.50 – 2.20 p.m.

Panel 6: National MASS regulatory and technological development 

  1. Katrina Kemp, UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency - UK Regulating MASS navigating a way forward 06_Katrina Kemp_UK Regulating MASS navigating a way forward.pdf
  2. Hernán del Frade, DGMM/MITMA - Spain National WG on MASS: the importance of different perspectives on regulation 07_Hernán del Frade_Spain National WG on MASS the importance of different perspectives on regulation.pdf
  3. Mazen AbdelMon'em Kobtan, Suez Canal Economic Zone - Organizational Obstacles facing Governments & Maritime Industry in Implementing MASS Project
  4. Muhammad Segar, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore - MASS Trials in Singapore: Challenges, Opportunities and the Future 09_Muhammad Segar_MASS Trials in Singapore Challenges, Opportunities and the Future.pdf
  5. Marko Rahikainen, One Sea Association - Industry stakeholders’ perspective on the regulatory framework 10_Marko Rahikainen_Industry stakeholder perspective on the regulatory framework.pdf

Q&A for panel moderator and meeting attendees (5 speakers with 15min + 15 min Q&A)

2.20 – 2.30 p.m.


Gillian Grant, Legal Committee Chair  

Speaker’s biographies

Panel 1

Name of the speaker

Anne Miettinen

Anne Miettinen works as a Senior Ministerial Adviser in the Automation Unit of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland. Her duties include maritime and logistics automation and digitalization, particularly strategic development including regulation. She is the Head of Delegation of Finland in the IMO Facilitation Committee. She participates in the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and IMO Legal Committee (LEG) work on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) issues. She is a national delegate in the European Commission´s High Level Steering Group of the Digital Maritime Systems and Services (HLSG) and its MASS expert group. She also participates in the SSPorts cooperation network and IALA MASS task force. She has worked in research, forecast and evaluation coordination activities as well as open data activities both in the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland.

Carlos F. Salinas 

Carlos F. Salinas, VTS Head of Area at Jovellanos Training Centre. In 2013 he was appointed delegate of the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency at the IALA VTS Committee.  He is the author of the book "Collision at sea” and co-author of the book "Vessel Traffic Services”. He has written more than seventy articles published in professional magazines, including Seaways and the Journal of Navigation. He participated in the IMO Regulatory Scoping Exercise on the impact of autonomous ships on COLREGS, and at the present time he is collaborating in the MSC working group for the development of a MASS Code. He is also a member of the European Union group of experts on autonomous ships. He is the author of the books “Sensible seamen read the rhythm of the waves” and the collection of short stories “Hidden in the sea”.

Khanssa Lagdami 

Khanssa Lagdami is an Assistant Professor at the World Maritime University. She holds an ITF Seafarers Trust Chair and teaches Maritime Labour Law and Policy. Lagdami has over 15 years of experience in the maritime sector. Her strengths lie in maritime labor law, the future of work, and maritime security. She is currently involved in significant research projects on social aspects in the maritime sector. In addition, Dr. Lagdami is leading an EU project related to port security in West and Central Africa. Dr. Lagdami is also engaged in enhancing maritime interests across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ørnulf Jan Rødseth 

Ørnulf Jan Rødseth has an MSc in cybernetics and electronic engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1983 and has since 1995 worked with maritime digitalization, automation and autonomy. He is a senior scientist at SINTEF Ocean and is the general manager of the Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships. He is a member of ISO TC8 and IEC TC80 and regularly meets at IMO as an observer for ISO. 

Panel 2

Name of the speaker

Ann Till

Sam Mayall 

Shepard Smith 

James Hopper 

Nick Simmons 

Ann Till is the Chief Vessel Operator based in Southampton for Ocean Infinity. Ocean Infinity have 23 MASS vessels between 21-85m under construction as well operating a fleet of 8 survey USVs. Ann is a Master Mariner and Chartered Marine Technologist and responsible for the remote operation of Ocean Infinity’s fleet.

Sam Mayall is the CEO and founder of Zelim. Zelim is a start up company focused on the use of unmanned rescue vessels in the global offshore energy and shipping industries. Zelim are currently building the world first unmanned fast rescue craft. 

Shepard Smith is the Chief Technology Officer for XOCEAN, which builds and operates a fleet of 20 survey USVs serving the offshore wind and hydrographic industries. Previously a career hydrographer with NOAA in the U.S., he served as the US National Hydrographer and representative to the IHO.

James Hopper is Business Development Manager for SEA-KIT Intl, which is a British SME providing hi-tech, USV (un-crewed surface vessel) solutions to the maritime and research industries for deployment in harsh offshore environments.

Nick Simmons is Fugro's European Director USV & Remote Operations, responsible for operating a fleet of up to 6 USVs by end 2023. Based in the UK, Nick has worked on and operated a range of vessels in the maritime survey sector for many years.  His entrepreneurial approach and passion for combining technology and people is helping Fugro drive forwards to a carbon.

Hyogyeong Joo

Hyogyeong Joo is the research engineer of Avikus, Hyundai Heavy Industries’ spin-off start-up dedicated to the development of autonomous navigation solutions. It’s only been about 2 years since Avikus first set sail, but it is well on its way to delivering an autonomous navigation assistant system for a whole range of ships, from large commercial vessels to recreational boats. Avikus has already received orders for its navigation assistant system on more than 200 ships. The number will continue to increase because it installs as a standard for all ships built by HHI Group. Prior to joining Avikus, she majored in maritime law and policy and worked as a deck officer in LNG carrier. Taking advantage of this experience, she is currently designing autonomous navigation products for ships, designing UI/UX, and responding to rules and regulations related to MASS.

Wu Sun 

Wu Sun is currently Chairman of IACS Expert Group on MASS, he is also a CCS member of the IACS Cyber System Panel. Since 1988, he has been working in the China Classification Society (CCS). He is currently Director of Intelligent Technology Department of CCS Shanghai Rules and Technology Center. Now his research areas include regulations and rules for autonomous ships, cyber security, digitalization, etc. 

Carlos Barrera 

Carlos Barrera (Oceanographer, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1997) is since 2007 Head of the Ocean Vehicles Unit at Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN). 25-year experience in ocean-tech with focus on autonomous observing systems and platforms. Technical and operational tasks are time-shared with desk activities related to R&D project-coordination, ocean governance initiatives and services management. Among others, currently is chair of the EuroGOOS Ocean-Glider Task Team, member of the Spanish Autonomous-Ships Working Group, The Maritime Alliance delegate for PLOCAN, coordinator of the PLOCAN Glider School and task leader within the EuroSea project to implement a recognized international network of Unmanned Surface Vehicles to improve ocean observing capabilities. 

Panel 3

Name of the speaker

Hideyuki Ando 

Hideyuki Ando is director of MTI Co. Ltd., R&D arm of NYK Line. Since he joined MTI in 2005, he has led many R&D projects regarding the safety and energy efficiency of NYK fleet operations. He has been chairman of the Smart Ship Application Platform (SSAP) Project of JSMEA (Japan Ship Machinery and Equipment Association) since 2012 and has led ISO standardization activities relating to ship IoT. Since 2016, he has led autonomous ship development and demonstration projects, including sub-director of the Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship (DFFAS) project from 2020 to 2022. Prior to his current position at MTI, he was an associate professor at the University of Tokyo. He was honored with the Best Youth Award JASNAOE (Japan Society of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering) in 2003. He holds a Doctor of Engineering. 

Megumi Shiokari 

Megumi Shiokari holds the current position of Chief researcher of the Centre for International Cooperation and the Marine Risk Assessment Department at National Maritime Research Institute, National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology. She is in charge of the development of risk analysis methods for autonomous ships and MASS-related international regulations.   

Zaili Yang 

Zaili Yang is Professor of Maritime Transport and Co-Director of Liverpool, Logistics, Offshore and Marine Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), UK. He received his BEng in Maritime Transportation from Dalian Maritime University, China, in 2001, MSc in International Transport from Cardiff University, UK, in 2003, and PhD in Maritime Safety from LJMU, UK, in 2006. Prof. Yang’s research interests are analysis and modelling of safety, resilience and sustainability of transport networks, particularly maritime systems. His research findings have been published in over 300 refereed papers in risk and transport areas, including 150 long journal papers. He has received 14 paper awards (e.g., IMechE Journal Part M) and 4 research awards (e.g., Northeast Asia Logistics Award 2018). 

Jin Kim 

Jin Kim is a head of KASS (Korea Autonomous Surface Ship) project office and a principal researcher at KRISO (Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering). After a PhD study at the University of Iowa, he joined KRISO in 2002. He has led many Korean national R&D projects regarding ship resistance and propulsion and a reduction technology for EEDI and EEOI. He has been a project head of the KASS national R&D program since 2020. He is leading KASS project and has a special interest in Verification and Validation of MASS. He is a member of SNAK (Korean Society of Naval Architects) and had served 12 years as a member of Technical Committee of ITTC (International Towing Tank Conference). 

Panel 4

Name of the speaker

Aldo Chircop

Aldo Chircop, JSD, is Professor of Law and former Canada Research Chair in Maritime Law and Policy (Tier I). Based at the Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, his fields of research and teaching are Canadian maritime law, international maritime law and the law of the sea. He is currently working on the regulation of Artic shipping, decarbonization, MASS and area-based management in shipping. He is the current chair of the CMI International Working Group on Polar Shipping. Professor Chircop has advised several governments, international organizations, law firms, non-governmental organizations, and community organizations. He has published extensively and is co-editor of the Ocean Yearbook (Brill). Professor Chircop is a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society and the Canadian Maritime Law Association. 

Youri Van Logchem 

Dr. Youri van Logchem is a senior lecturer at the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law at Swansea University. Before that, he was a PhD fellow at the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) at Utrecht University. Youri has published several articles and book chapters in the areas of international law of the sea (including on MASS) and general public international law. His monograph entitled The Rights and Obligations of States in Disputed Maritime Areas has been published by Cambridge University Press. Youri’s work has been cited before international courts and tribunals. He has also received awards for academic achievements, including the Rhodes Academy Submarine Cables Award, and has presented at various conferences around the world. Youri also provided evidence as an expert witness for the International Relations and Defence Committee of the House of Lords. 

Murat Sumer 

Murat Sümer is The Nippon Foundation Lecturer in International Maritime Law at IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta. Before joining IMLI in 2019, he used to work as a career diplomat responsible for maritime law affairs for the MFA of Türkiye. He also acted as an Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO between 2013-2015. He holds two LL.M. degrees. He is currently a PhD candidate at Maastricht University where he conducted research on the regulatory aspects of MASS with a particular focus on the compliance issues with UNCLOS and SOLAS. 

Panel 5

Name of the speaker

Robert Beckman 

Robert Beckman is an Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he has taught since 1977. He was the founding Director of the Centre for International Law (CIL), a university-level research institute at NUS. He is currently Head of CIL’s Ocean Law and Policy programme. He has taught several international law courses at NUS, including Ocean Law & Policy and International Regulation of Shipping, and he currently teaches a course on International Regulation of the Global Commons. Since 2009 he has lectured in the summer programme at the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy in Rhodes, Greece, and he is a member of the Governing Board for the Rhodes Academy. He has published widely on ocean law and policy issues. He is also a Senior Advisor to the Maritime Security Programme of the Institute for Defence & Strategic Studies (IDSS) at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). 

Anna Petrig 

Anna Petrig holds the Chair of International Law and Public Law at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She has a PhD in the field of the law of the sea and human rights law and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Anna is a member of the Bar of the Canton of Berne (Switzerland) and the New York State Bar. Her broad legal experience includes work in private practice, the courts, and the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Anna is the author of various monographs, notably pertaining to the law of the sea and transnational crime (see, e.g., Anna Petrig, Human Rights and Law Enforcement at Sea, Brill-Nijhoff 2014; Robin Geiss & Anna Petrig, Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea, Oxford University Press 2011); and she has widely published on legal aspects relating to the use of autonomous ships. Anna has served as Judge ad hoc for Switzerland on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Cases 27 and 29. 

Panel 6

Name of the speaker

Katrina Kemp

Katrina Kemp is the MCA’s Maritime Autonomy Policy lead working on the regulatory developments in the UK and at IMO since 2018. An experienced civil servant with a PhD in maritime history Katrina has an understanding of both research and policy development. She led the UK MARLab project, 2019-20, that helped government understand how the industry was developing in the UK and some of the legal challenges facing autonomous vessels. She is currently working with DfT on the Transport Bill to introduce primary legislation to support and allow the safe, secure and environmentally friendly operation of MASS in the UK. As the UK’s Lead negotiator in the IMO MASS working group focused on evolving the IMO regulatory framework to allow the operation of MASS internationally, including a MASS Code, she ensures the work and developments domestically help to direct developments internationally.

Hernán del Frade 

Hernán del Frade is Technical Advisor on Safety and Environment for the Cantabrian Sea, at the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine of the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. Civil servant since 2003. PhD on International Law, Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley 2013-2014, International Law professor at the University of Oviedo, Degree in Law and Merchant Marine Officer. My work is related to the main topics of marine pollution, places of refuge and MASS.

Mazen Abdel 

Mon'em Kobtan 

Muhammad Segar 

Capt M Segar is the Assistant Chief Executive (Operations) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). He holds a Master (Foreign-going) Certificate of Competency and a Master of Science (Maritime Administration & Environmental Protection) from the World Maritime University, Malmo (Sweden). Prior to his current appointment in MPA, he was a Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) sponsored student and after his sailing career, he worked with the Port of Singapore Authority as a Harbour Pilot (1 Jan 90 to 1 Feb 96). He then joined MPA as a Marine Officer and was subsequently promoted as the Port Master, MPA (Jan 2001 to Jul 2008). He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) (Bar) Pingat Pentadbiran Awam (Perak) (Lintang) at the National Day Awards 2017. In his current capacity as the Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), Capt Segar oversees operational matters pertaining to the smooth and safe running of the Port of Singapore, so as to ensure that the world’s busiest port remains safe, secure and efficient, thereby facilitating the development and promotion of Singapore as a hub port and international maritime centre. Capt Segar also oversees the administration of our responsibilities as a Flag State, Port State and Coastal State, and the use of technology to enhance our operations.

Marko Rahikainen 

Starting his career at sea in 1990, Capt. Rahikainen gained practical shipping experience working on board different ship types and having developed a keen interest in the application of rules and regulations in shipbuilding, joined the Finnish Maritime Administration in 2003 as Maritime Inspector, and advanced to Chief Adviser until leaving the agency in 2020. During his tenure, Capt. Rahikainen has attended more than 50 IMO meetings and a comparable number of meetings regarding legislation, enforcement and inspections of maritime transport in the European Union. Amongst other duties, he was heavily involved in the work to introduce Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) at the IMO level.