Ben Richardson

'How might the introduction of unmanned autonomous ships affect shipping accident statistics?'


Ben Richardson is currently completing an MSc in Marine Transport at Newcastle University, having graduated last year with a First Class BSc in Navigation and Maritime Science from the University of Plymouth. This year, as part of his dissertation, he is conducting research about unmanned and autonomous ships, and how their introduction is likely to affect the casualty rate in shipping. 

Introduction to research

For my research, I find the nature of autonomous ships intriguing especially with the way that transportation appears to be moving. While everyone seems to believe that autonomous ships will reduce the number of accidents, there is little research to back these statements. 

What made you choose maritime as your area of study and research?

I have always been attracted to the sea and from a young age learnt to sail, which was the grounding for a lifelong passion. Since then, I have had the opportunity to go on and compete alongside some of the world's best sailors in a range of amazing locations from Pwllheli in Wales to Porto Cervo in Sardinia. Throughout my first degree at Plymouth, I learnt lots about ships and the way they operate through, not only the academic course, but the experiences of the Cadets I had the joy of studying alongside. All this led me to want to expand on my knowledge around the maritime sector, which led me to Newcastle and the Marine Transport course. 

What do you hope to get out of participating in the Maritime Masters programme?

I hope to get the opportunity to meet people within the maritime industry that I would not usually have the opportunity to meet and present my research to a wider audience.