Belgian autonomous vessels will also be able to sail more easily in Dutch waters. Minister of the North Sea Paul Van Tigchelt (Open Vld) signed a cooperation agreement with our northern neighbors on this subject on Monday.
Today at 6:17 am
As one of the first countries in the world, Belgium has had a legal framework for pilot projects with unmanned vessels in the North Sea since July 1, 2021. Last year, the Belgian unmanned vessel Mahi 2 sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, powered entirely by solar energy – a world first. Many Belgian maritime companies also invest in the technology.
In mid-September, Belgium already concluded agreements with the United Kingdom and Denmark to make it administratively easier for such vessels to cross their borders. Now there will also be cooperation in that area between Belgium and the Netherlands.
“The countries agree to coordinate their procedures where possible and to exchange knowledge,” Van Tigchelt’s cabinet said on Tuesday. “In this way they avoid unnecessary administrative burdens and want to make it easier for the industry to set up new projects with autonomous vessels in the North Sea.”
Van Tigchelt will be present this week at the general meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. In addition to autonomous shipping, maritime security is an important theme for Belgium. Our country submitted a resolution to call for extra attention “to the challenges posed by organized crime and calls for work on an adapted international framework”.
Belgium hopes to be elected to the Council of the IMO, the executive body of the United Nations organization, for the eighth time in a row on Friday.