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Ilia Maslov about data centric evaluation rules, autonomous ship guidelines, MASS\USV development projects

Date: 23 May 2024 Author: Chief Editor
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore

MASSworld.news CEO Rhea Cabral talks to Ilia Maslov Technical Advisor – Digital & Smart Ships at Bureau Veritas | Marine & Offshore.
Ilia Maslov started his career as a Mariner in the energy sector, moved to shore as a Fleet Dynamic Positioning Expert and Superintendent for a leading offshore shipowner in France, and presently works for Bureau Veritas | Marine & Offshore developing certification and classification products for novel technology. He managed projects for marine remote monitoring and diagnostics, functional safety, decision support, and connectivity for autonomous shipping. Throughout his career he participated in the IMCA, ISO and IHO work groups.
❓ Bureau Veritas | Marine & Offshore (BV) has recently published Data Centric Evaluation rules, could you please shortly advise what is it and how is it applicable to Autonomous\Unmanned\Smart ships?
🎤 NR690 “Data-Centric Evaluation” is a new Rule Note about remote diagnostics. It establishes a framework for classification of ships, certification of equipment and certification of shore service suppliers. The framework is applicable to both ships and offshore units. The perimeter may cover any system subject to functional testing which is selected at the discretion of the asset owner. NR690’s Appendix 1 provides a wide range of applications, including autonomy.

NR690 helps establish a framework where autonomous systems are regularly checked by independent certified diagnostics providers. The status of the systems is then shared with interested parties who have been granted permission to operate.
❓ What is the situation of data regulation for current developments in MASS?
🎤 EU Data Act (Regulation (EU) 2023/2854) came into force on 11 January 2024. It aims to create an environment where stakeholders have access to more industrial data available and benefit from a competitive data market. This includes the aftermarket services for connected hardware products.
Another aspect that will come into effect when the MASS extends to ships under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is the requirement for information sharing under the defect reporting obligations outlined in SOLAS Chapter I, Part B, Regulation 11(c). This entails reporting any defects discovered in onboard equipment during vessel operation. If the equipment is covered by certificates issued by the classification society, the shipowner is obligated to promptly provide a report on the defects to the society. NR690 focuses on enhancing defect discovery with off-the-shelf technology for remote diagnostics.
❓ Where is it more important to verify the data handling – for MASS\Unmanned\Smart or for regular ships with remote monitoring?
🎤 The remote monitoring is beneficial for both; however, on unmanned ships, it can be even more important due to the complexity of the systems and the absence of personnel on board to detect the data during a regular safety round or to implement local mitigation measures.
Autonomous ships should exchange regular status reports according to BV NI641 “Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping”. Moreover, the data-centric evidence of safe operation can be utilized by Regional Authorities to build trust in this novel technology. The role of the Classification Society is to translate the alarm codes and timeseries ranges into the compliance or non-compliance statuses when diagnostics and data sharing are established by the shipowner. More information on this can be found in Appendix 3 of NR690.
❓ What do you think of remote survey of ships from point of view from inside the classification society?
🎤 First of all, just to clarify, NR690 “Data-Centric Evaluation” does not pertain to remote surveys. Instead, the data-centric evaluation takes place regularly between the periodical surveys. It operates independently of the annual and five-yearly classification surveys, with a different frequency. Nevertheless, our surveyors may access relevant data during periodical surveys to enhance awareness of the condition of the complex systems on board.
Besides, Bureau Veritas | Marine & Offshore has been at the forefront of innovation in response to the ongoing digital transformation in the shipping industry. In pursuit of innovative ways to support its clients and the broader marine and offshore sector, BV has adopted Remote Inspection Techniques (RIT), including the utilization of aerial drones, revolutionizing its asset inspection and management practices.
BV Rule Notes NR467 and NR445 guide and encourage the use of Remote Inspections Techniques such as aerial drones and remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to perform global visual inspection (GVI), close visual inspection (CVI), thickness gauging, and other non-destructive tests (NDT) within the class scope, carried out by certified BV service suppliers.
While the benefits of drone usage in surveys are evident, challenges arise, particularly in managing the substantial volume of data generated, including videos, images, and LiDAR. The data holds valuable insights, but evaluating it can be arduous, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. This is where AI technology becomes pivotal. BV’s Augmented Surveyor tool is designed to automatically process these videos, images, and LiDAR sensor data, producing optimized and meaningful outputs.
The adoption of these technologies in the marine and offshore inspection industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by continuous technological advancements.
❓ What is the current status of development of the guidelines\rules in BV for Autonomous\Unmanned\Smart ships?
🎤 BV maintains the NI641 “Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping” and NR681 “Notation USV” with updates scheduled for 2024. Work on the AI guidelines is in progress. An additional class notation for the ship-shore synchronous communication, SYNC-COM-R, was added in January 2024.
❓ Which MASS projects does BV participate in the moment?
🎤 EU Horizon Autoship H2020 project was successfully completed in 2023. Presently BV participates in the EU Horizon SEAMLESS Project.
We have also issued several Approval in Principle (AiP) for major players such as Seaowl Group (Link 1, Link 2), Exail (Link) and NYK Line.
❓ How do you see the future of autonomous ships?
🎤 The future will be directly linked to the progress of the MASS Code development by International Maritime Organization. In 2025-2028, when the Code transitions into a recommendation, we anticipate a rise in remote operation solutions in international waters, enhanced decision support for drive assist systems, as well as firm growth in offshore survey, security and military applications. Starting from 2028, when the code becomes normative, we may see a step forward in the true autonomy for large tonnage vessels. AI solutions will benefit from the vast training datasets acquired during the preceding period.
❓ We believe all this is quite interesting for our readers, which event this year you are going to participate in to meet in person?
🎤 We will participate with presentations in the Gorinchem Maritime Industry event in May, the Autonomous Ship Expo Conference in Amsterdam in June, and the MTEC/ICMASS 2024 conference in Trondheim in October.