Too early to breathe a sigh of relief

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We are not out of the water yet with cyber-security. Recent news tells us that: BIMCO announced the development of a new clause for its standard contracts dealing with cyber security risks and related incidents; Inmarsat has introduced two new components for its maritime cyber security service and the most common phrase in these discussions is the “ever-increasing cyber threats faced by ship owners and ship managers.” That’s not taking into account that the IMO has introduced cyber security into the International Safety Management (ISM) Code that comes into effect from 2021.

There have definitely been eyes taken off the ball in the past year and while this is more confidence in the way some sectors of the industry treat cyber security, there is still a lot more to do as technology on both sides of the equation evolves. In the past month the news is that Nigeria has seen more than $2 billion in insurance and other surcharges levied as a result of continuing piracy attacks in its waters. Piracy has not gone way and neither has the new breed of cyber-criminal fully developed their full potential. This is not a time to be complacent.

Read the news: the alarming reports of GPS failures are hardly the high-tech cyber- crimes they might suggest. Navigational disruption can be a relatively simple affair for the determined and aided and abetted by atmospheric conditions, there is no cause to be relaxed as we approach 2019. Reports suggest that in just two years there were more than 250,000 disruptions of one sort or another concerning GPS operations. While systems are constantly being developed and refined, there is some cause for concern in educating seafarers and operators about these fast-changing threats.

The industry is rightly concerned with these growing threats and with the work being done by the IMO, BIMCO and commercial operators in the maritime industry does suggest there is a drive to get on top of these threats. The real problem lies in the nature of the shipping industry: large capital investments that are subject to man and machinery for operations. There is investment in time, money and equipment to tackle these issues. What we also need to bear in mind is that humans make mistakes and the one mistake we shouldn’t make is underestimating people.

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