(Boston, Mass.; October 6, 2021) – In a first between a maritime union and an autonomous technology company, American Maritime Officers (AMO) has entered into a labor agreement with Sea Machines Robotics, the leading developer of autonomous command and control systems. The partnership signals the recognition by both entities that a prosperous future for the maritime sector is one built on a firm relationship among workers, technology and business.
In the collaboration, AMO-represented U.S. Coast Guard-licensed officers are supporting Sea Machines’ first-of-its-kind 1,000 NM autonomous voyage around Denmark. Aptly named The Machine Odyssey, the voyage marks a pivotal moment for autonomous transportation and is slated to prove that the world’s waterways are primed and ready for long-range autonomy. AMO officers will command the NELLIE BLY on her autonomous voyage remotely from Sea Machines’ Boston-based control center. The officers received training prior to the voyage kick-off and have support from the Sea Machines’ engineering teams in Boston and Hamburg throughout the estimated three-week program. Additionally, the NELLIE BLY will always carry two on-board safety captains, with occasional guest passengers, and will call on ports along the route to display and demonstrate the technology.
Known as the leading source for U.S. Coast Guard licensed merchant marine officers in all shipboard departments and shipping trades, AMO is taking the strategic step to ensure the merchant marine officers it represents can continue to have a secure role in an evolving industry as new technology is developed and applied.
“AMO is working to anticipate and prepare for the future of the maritime industry, understanding the implementation of the technology will happen in the not-so-distant future. Failure to prepare for the future means failure to participate in it. Through this agreement, AMO is working to set careers for future generations of merchant mariners,” said AMO National Executive Vice President Captain William Barrere. “AMO is committed to ensuring the human element – particularly the expertise of U.S. merchant mariners earned through extensive experience and comprehensive training at industry-leading facilities, such as STAR Center – remains a key component of maritime transportation to ensure safe navigation, sustained mariner employment and the reliable operation of onboard equipment and systems.”
Since inception in 2015, Sea Machines has always been on a mission to create technologies that provide new operational methodologies, increase operational productivity and predictability, and increase at-sea safety for mariners. Sea Machines and AMO share the goal of ensuring the safe and effective operation of vessels as increasing levels of automation continue to be applied throughout an active industry.
“Sea Machines is built by a team of mariners – currently employing from five of the seven U.S. maritime academies – and operates with a mission to uplift and expand marine industries with technology,” said Sea Machines’ CEO Michael Johnson. “We envision a future in which autonomous technology can expand the world’s fleets and waterborne transportation systems, make transport over water more versatile and competitive with other modes of transportation, and expand the maritime workforce through growth in the industry, ultimately creating jobs. We’re pleased to be working with AMO on this pioneering voyage toward the expansion of our industry.”
Sea Machines is streaming the journey live on a website dedicated to The Machine Odyssey here.
About Sea Machines
Headquartered in the global tech hub of Boston and operating globally, Sea Machines is the leader in pioneering autonomous command and control and advanced perception systems for the marine industries. Founded in 2015, the company builds autonomous vessel software and systems, which increase the safety, efficiency and performance of ships, workboats and commercial passenger vessels. Learn more about Sea Machines at www.sea-machines.com.
About American Maritime Officers
American Maritime Officers is the largest union of U.S. merchant marine officers. AMO officers work aboard U.S.-flagged merchant and military sealift vessels, and AMO holds a unique presence in the international energy transportation and cable laying, maintenance and repair trades.