Transas calls for IMO connectivity standards

The IMO should set standards of compliance for the communication connection between ships and shore, according to Transas CEO, Frank Coles.

During his keynote speech at Connected Ships & Cybersecurity was delivered at the Shipping Insight Fleet Optimization Conference, he said that if standards are not set it will create a signifcant cyber security risk.

"The connected ship is like a long chain, with each piece linking to the next and at every point there is the opportunity for a failure. It can be hardware or software or both and it can be a cyber virus penetration or simply a denial of service, either of which can cause damage," explained Mr Coles.

Cybersecurity is a smart information technology system, process and procedures, therefore standardisation and regulation for the ship’s system should include connectivity.

Mr Coles explained that it should be recognised that connectivity is not new but the connection is smart shipping is.

He said: “There are international maritime standards for GMDSS or AIS, but for the big data nothing exists. This means the cyber security risk is left to each satellite operator, each service provider and each hardware manufacturer.”

The security of connectivity is growing in importance especially in relation to the current growing demand and use of the Fleet Operations Centres ashore, operating alongside the Vessel Monitoring Services of the various government bodies.

"It is time for the IMO to apply the same standards of compliance used for GMDSS, ECDIS and other bridge equipment to the standard communication networks and equipment,“ Mr Coles added.

He concluded: “If these networks and the associated equipment is going to be used for operational, remote management and technical decision, it must be cyber secure and compliant with a global set of international maritime standards.“

“Until then we will have a cyber risk associated with a non-standard approach to connectivity.“

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