Skills & Industry
Short sea (coastal) shipping is important to north-west Europe, and to the Netherlands in particular. Both regional transportation of goods in Europe and the redistribution of cargo from large ocean liners is performed by short sea ships. Many short sea ships are built at Dutch shipyards, and various large ship-owning companies own and operate large fleets of these vessels and operate them within European waters and beyond.
New skills requirements for seafarers
This goes beyond the establishment of new standards. A whole new range of training, trainers and competencies needs to be developed early on, to ensure that trained crews are available once these highly digitalised ships come into service.
New STCW standards
These international standards can only be modified through international co-operation, and much development work is still required to establish these changes, requiring input from various stakeholders. These formalised training standards are essential for guiding operators, crews and maritime training institutions in the training of a sufficient number of seafarers in time for the market implementation of autonomous shipping.
Training the seafarers
Availability of IT-integrators in maritime sector
Awareness of crew-shortage
The Dutch ferries service sector is considered an important mode of passenger transport, mainly on inland waterways and at sea. Ferries are therefore an important link between the shore and the water for commuters, schoolchildren and recreational users. Most of these ferries are built at Dutch shipyards and are operated by public operators as well as private companies. The goal is to have an inland ferry fleet by 2030 for which autonomous sailing is no longer an unknown factor; a sector for which autonomous sailing is normalised and consequently safer and more efficient in its operations.
Autonomy and jobs
However, when the crew disappears from the ferry, it can give the impression that people are replaced by software. This may be contrary to the principles and goals of, for example, governments that want to create employment. Governments are also the bodies that tender for public transport on the water and they would like to avoid any possible upheaval due to the loss of jobs on ships.
Skill requirements for shore control centres
Availability of IT integrators in the maritime sector
Skilled crew for shore control centre
Inland cargo shipping refers to the transport of goods on inland waterways in the Netherlands and across our borders. In 2030, inland shipping is to have reached a level of automation described as “Human-Assisted Autonomy” (stage 3 in IMO, level 4 in CCR). We expect 25% of the total Dutch fleet of inland ships to have reached this level of automation by 2030.
IT and digital capabilities of the (refit/repair) shipyards
An important condition in this respect will be the build-up of enough knowledge implementation. Therefore shipyards and IT companies should work together more closely.
Negative attitude towards smart shipping
However, automation of dull, dirty or dangerous jobs can improve the quality of jobs in inland shipping. Automation can be a solution to the lack of qualified skippers and personnel, reducing the numbers of crew needed.
A negative attitude towards smart shipping can be an obstacle, as entrepreneurs may hesitate to invest, while policy makers may wait for the introduction of new laws.
New skills requirements for shore control centre personnel
To do so, a curriculum for the next generation of inland shipping personnel (in shore control centres and on ships) has to be determined. This will require adaptation by maritime colleges, including employing new staff, and it also calls for “on the job” training curricula to train current crews in new skills or new jobs.
This goes beyond the establishment of new standards. A whole new range of training, trainers and competencies needs to be developed early on, to ensure that trained shore control centre crews are available once these remotely controllable ships come into service.
Transition of tasks and responsibilities: monitoring instead of operating
This transition needs to be studied and defined to determine tasks and responsibilities of the crew present in an inland ship automated to stage 3.