IMEC Conference on the Human Element in Marine Automation – April 2019

On the 11th of April 2019, the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) held its 2019 conference in the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. The theme focused on the Human Element in Marine Automation and attracted a large number of delegates from the entire crewing industry.

Epsilon took active part during the proceedings since Dr. Konstantinos Poulis, Epsilon’s General Manager, was the Chairman of this conference. Speakers and attendees discussed the future of onboard operations and the role of seafaring over the next 30 years. In total, 24 speakers took to the stage over the course of the day, to address issues from regulation and accident investigation up to technological business models. Academics, technologists, executives, and psychologists discussed the development of unmanned vessels, the future of manning and training in ‘automated’ and ‘digitalised’ shipping as well as the lessons learned with automation in the maritime industry to date.

Whilst the conference looked at the exciting developments taking place in the industry at this moment, the key takeaway was that seafarers should not be worried about their future careers. On the one hand, the sheer complexity of developing unmanned vessels moves us away from fully automated vessels. Therefore, our industry will remain largely insulated albeit in a way different to the current regime. On the other hand, increased automation puts a requisite pressure to crew managers to develop more discerning and technologically sophisticated seafarers. This means that training will prove a key element in the future course of Shipping.

The full videos of the event are now published and can be viewed at: