Marine autonomy

Despite the IMO having only relatively recently started to seriously consider maritime autonomy, our autonomous marine team has a market leading understanding of the sector built upon expertise gained from decades advising clients on shipbuilding, owning, chartering and financing vessels and more recently, representing a number of the largest and most exciting autonomous vessel companies across the UK and EU.
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Key contacts

Given our practical experience of autonomous technologies in the marine sector, we frequently deploy our expertise in delivering astute and commercial legal advice to industry leaders and start-ups in a sector where technology is moving faster than the existing rules. Our autonomous marine team combines comprehensive know-how in all relevant legal areas with profound, real-world industry knowledge.

Our decades of world leading marine, technology, offshore energy and shipbuilding experience, combined with dealing with specialist autonomous vessel clientele, enable us to provide expert advice to clients involved in marine autonomous operations.

We advise clients across the sector, including issues affecting maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Our clients include owners, operators, shipyards and technology developers.

Our autonomous marine practice has already advised on:

  • UK regulatory and certification matters
  • Construction of autonomous vessels
  • Sale and purchase of autonomous technologies and vessels
  • Dispute resolution

European defence company operator

Advising a large defence company on UK autonomous vessel regulations as they relate to commercial and scientific operations within UK waters and the UK's EEZ.

UK/US marine robotics company

Negotiating shipbuilding contracts for the construction of a first of its kind remote fleet.

Sale and purchase of USVs

Advising an autonomous vessel owner in respect of contractual negotiations on the purchase of USVs.

Approx. US$18 million charterparty dispute

Acting for Owners of an AUV mother vessel against a Brazilian energy company, in relation to claims brought relating to wrongful termination, breaches of AUV specifications, and non-payment of hire.

UK marine autonomy consortium

Representing a leading UK consortium of industry and academic partners specialising in the delivery of innovative maritime autonomous solutions in negotiations with the UK regulator.

Autonomous equipment supplier

Represented a leading UK equipment supplier in contracting for the sale of autonomous vessel equipment.

UK certification process

Assisting a number of autonomous vessel operators in the early stages of seeking to obtain certification to operate in UK waters.

Autonomous navigation equipment supplier

Representing a large autonomous equipment supplier in a dispute with its end client for unpaid invoices.

Latest news & insights

19 Dec 2023

From Insights

MCA's new rules for remotely operated unmanned vessels come into force

On 13 December 2023, the Workboat Code Edition 3 ("Edition 3") came into force.


04 Aug 2023

From Insights

MASS at Moorgate

Following the success of last year and the developments globally in the sector over the last 12 months, we are excited to announce that MASS at Moorgate will be return..


03 Aug 2023

From Insights

Takeaways from Stephenson Harwood's MASS at Moorgate 2022

On 18 October 2022, Stephenson Harwood hosted the inaugural MASS @ Moorgate in its London office.


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