What about autonomous or unmanned vessels? Apparently there is a DARPA project
to build autonomous ships, and according to some news reports at least one unmanned ship performed a 42 day journey while in compliance with the colregs...
Autonomous Vessel tested at sea is COLREGs Compliant | futurenautics.com
There is also an official EU sponsored program for unmanned ships as wel:
MUNIN | MUNIN – Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks
We might actually see unmanned cargo ships in the future.
This al got me to wonder a bit. Rule
5 says that you should maintain a proper lookout at all times. It does not, as afar as I can see, require the lookout to be done by a human.
What if one were to install a system that uses cameras (infrared and visual) and directional microphones to continuously scan the surroundings for ships. I could imagine that such a system would even perform even better than a human watch stander. Would a solo sailor, equipped with such a system be in breach of rule
5 if he goes inside and has a nap?