With numerous efforts undertaken by both industry and academia to develop and implement autonomous merchant vessels, their safety remains an utmost priority. One of the modes of their operation which is expected to be used is a remote control. Therein, some, if not all, decisions will be made remotely by human operators and executed locally by a vessel control system. This arrangement incorporates a possibility of a human factor occurrence. To this end, a variety of factors are known in the literature along with a complex network of mutual relationships between them. In order to study their potential influence on the safety of remotely-controlled merchant vessels, an expert study has been conducted using the Human Factors Analysis and Classification SystemMaritime Accidents (HFACS–MA) framework. The results indicate that the most relevant for the safety of this prospective system is to ensure that known problems are properly and timely rectified and that remote operators maintain their psycho-and physiological conditions. The experts elicited have also assigned higher significance to the causal factors of active failures than latent failures, thus indicating a general belief that operators’ actions represent the final and the most important barrier against accident occurrence.
- Human error
- Human factor
- Maritime autonomous surface ships
- Remote control
- Unmanned shipping