The increasingly pervasive digitalization and automation of industrial operations is often referred to as the automation shift. A revealing site for exploring today’s fast-changing nature of economic and labor systems is found at the intersection of the ongoing automation shift and maritime industries. Developments within automation are informed by efforts by international authorities to make maritime operations and transport less polluting, safer, and more efficient, through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), conventions like Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), affecting especially the maritime sector of the oil and gas industry. In Norwegian waters increasing numbers of automated/semi-automated vessels are being tested, aiming to make all operations at sea remotely controlled, dump risk, and enable more complex operations. Clearly, automation brings forth changes which are both industrial and social in nature. By bringing together academia (University of Bergen), industries (Knutsen OAS, AVO Consulting, Simsea Real Operations) and institutions (Municipality of Haugesund, Norwegian Maritime Authority), this project addresses challenges and possibilities brought by automation and its relation to the greening of the industry and to the changes in the labor market. The project examines cases of automation with an emphasis on relational and socio-cultural dynamics, looking at initiatives by the industry and responses by seafarers and society; their perceptions and experiences; as well as the changing roles of seafarers, managers, and technicians. Project partners will discuss, evaluate, and theorize different dynamics of technological advancement, risk assessment, labor relations, conditions and rights, and safe relationships with the ocean. This highly collaborative initiative will increase knowledge and expertise in the effort to improve safety, carbon-print, and effectiveness in maritime industries.
How can we study the pervasive effects of automated technologies in the maritime sector of the offshore oil and gas industry? A revealing site for exploring the fast-changing nature of our economic and labor system is found in the intersection between an ongoing automation shift and the maritime industry. ASMOG is an innovative collaboration between different industries, institutional partners and social scientists. The project addresses the possibilities, impacts and challenges of automation in maritime, offshore oil and gas industries in a context of a general push towards the transition to more environmentally friendly transport and fuel usage. The project proposes a novel theoretical and methodological approach to investigate the relationship between humans and automation processes, by focusing especially on simulation training. “Automation shift” is hence the paradigm against which the study will take place. Specifically, the project looks at cases of automation and labor relations with an emphasis on the relational and socio-cultural dynamics at different levels. These levels include: initiatives by the industry and responses by seafarers and society; their perceptions and experiences, role of seafarers, managers, engineers and technicians. Placed at the center of this study are the different dynamics in which technological advancement (namely automation), risk assessment, labor relations and rights, and safe relationships with ocean are being evaluated, discussed and theorized. The project will explore these developments through simulation training and experiments – and through mutual exchange of knowledge and observations with the industries and public institutions. ASMOG’s highly collaborative initiative will result in increased knowledge and greater expertise in the improvement of safety, carbon-print, competitiveness and effectiveness of the maritime industry.