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A Study On The Application Of The Law On Remotely-Controlled Unmanned Ship

Posted on:2020-08-04Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:S J ZhengFull Text:PDF
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As a developmental stage of unmanned ship,remotely-controlled unmanned ship has been paid more and more attention by shipbuilding manufacturers and scientific researchers and scholars all over the world.Many legal issues have been raised which need to be defined and discussed in detail.Remotely-controlled unmanned ship can be defined as:"the ship and other mobile units that are manoeuvred and operated by person on shore through remote control with no crew on board,keeping afloat at sea or in other navigable waters adjacent thereto".First of all,by confirming on its status as a special legal entity,to recognize the remotely-controlled unmanned ship as a separate type of the ship,is not only in line with the factual notions,but also conforms with the provisions of most international conventions on the definition of the ships.In general,there is no obvious discrepancy between the traditional ships and remotely-controlled ships when reference is made to the two core functions of the ship as "navigation function",and "operation function".For the sake of making the fundamental regulations and basic navigation rights which have been entitled by international conventions to be available to remotely-controlled unmanned ship by reference,the international conventions shall consider to extend their application to unmanned ship or even remotely-controlled unmanned ship.Secondly,due to the express or implicit requirements of domestic statues and most other shipping nations on the crew to be people who are onboard the ship,the shore-based staff,cannot be simply recognized by legislation as having the same legal status as other on board crew-members.The shore-based staff under the domestic law cannot be treated as a fully qualified crew-member,which should be considered as a general operator employed by a shipping company.It is more appropriate for shore-based personnel to apply basic laws such as labor law and labor contract law to protect labor rights.On the other hand,when treating shore-based personnel as the subject of obligations,since their entities are still the carrier's servants and the balance between the ship and cargo's interests has not changed,the provisions of international conventions on special regulation and supervision of the crew shall also be applicable to them.Thirdly,in theory,due to the open attitude adopted by major international conventions towards the application of concrete legal systems designed by their provisions,the amendments to the scope of application are not forbidden by those international conventions and it meanwhile makes an effect on the attitude of domestic laws.Therefore,application of such existing legal systems can be exempted or modified by international conventions and domestic statues to adapt to the new situation.As far as the registration system of the ship is concerned,the fact that "principle of genuine link" is specifically emphasized for manned ships does not impede the application of such principle to unmanned ships,which means unmanned ships also can be registered under the flag of convenience.As for the jurisdiction upon the ship of the port state and mandatory pilotage system,when the standards for the construction,design and manning of remotely-controlled unmanned ships can be unified and generally accepted by various nations,no matter what attitude the port state holds towards remotely-controlled unmanned ships,no more strict restrictions than those applied to manned ships shall be imposed on the entry and exit of unmanned ships into its waters.At the same time,the mandatory pilotage system shall be modified when the remotely-controlled unmanned ships are involved and the provisions of international conventions as "the pilots must perform its service on board,the ship have to provide assistance to facilitate the pilot on board”shall not be applicable to the remotely-controlled unmanned ship.Such exemption of convention' s provisions renders the shipping company to open its shore-based control system to the pilots together with relevant required assistances.Last but not least,the most significant and core issue of the supervision of shore-based crew under international convention and domestic law is the issue of the minimum safety manning of ships.Regarding the application of "minimum safety manning" for unmanned ships under remote control,the safety of such ships shall be evaluated in accordance with SOLAS's assessment standards for the minimum safety manning of ships,so as to gradually reduce the use of crew on board and finally exempt those ships from the minimum safety manning system.Meanwhile,if it is the obligation of the remotely-controlled unmanned ship to perform the salvage,the reference shall still be made in accordance with the salvage system of the manned ship.However,such obligation shall be performed by its sister ship,other ships owned by its registered company or MSA's salvaging vessels on its behalf as a substitution due to its lack of competency.If salvage is arising from the principle of humanitarianism,the unmanned ships should be exempted from such obligation as passing ships to search and rescue those objects in distress because the search and rescue of unmanned ships could possibly enlarge the loss.Even if the loss is not reduced or further expanded by such search and rescue,unmanned ships which engaged in the salvage should be entitled to exemption from any damages and liabilities therefrom.As far as the training,certification and watchkeeping of shore-based personnel is concerned,new standards need to adopted and promulgated with reference to the existing provisions of STCW convention in the form of amendments or annexes to be incorporated into the STCW convention.
Keywords/Search Tags:Unmanned Ship, Remote Control, Legal Status, Scope of Application, Principle Adjustment, Immunity of Convention
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