Cyber-security is crucial for shipping, says ABS CEO and new IACS chairman

Christopher Wiernicki, chairman, president and CEO of ABS, has said that cyber-security tops his list of objectives to be tackled during his tenure as the new chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

Wiernicki assumed his role as IACS’ chairman on July 2 at the end of the 71st session of the ICAS Council in Paris, and today reiterated the importance of international and uniform regulation that is the same across the industry.

IACS, he said today, intends to lobby IMO to amend the International Safety Management (ISM) Code to provide for threats posed by threats from hackers and malware.

“It will take a few years, I think, before a solid process is in place to address this, but this is the year that we want to prepare ourselves from an IACS point of view,” Wiernicki told assembled press in London today.

“This is not just about the future but is also current and pressing, and there are certain flag states that have already put out cyber-safety and cyber-security policies in this particular area.”

Wiernicki is due to meet with the European Commission in Brussels later this week to discuss on current issues in shipping, one of them being the EU’s new vessel emissions monitoring scheme.

“IACS and many of its members have been seeking to work with the Commission on means to verify compliance with the EU’s requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions,” Wiernicki said.

“We do not have an IACS position on this but a lot of our classification societies are in fact beginning to look into this area and trying to understand how best we can use our role as an independent third party, and providers of how best to implement the methodology for this initiative.

“We have some draft proposals in place that we will be putting in front of the council for this area and establishing joint working groups with the industry that will support this MRV implementation process,” he continued, adding that the process would resemble the process used in previous years to develop the EEDI initiative.

“As an industry, our default position should always be for regulatory requirements to be international in scope and developed through the IMO. For class societies, the existence of a level playing field of standards is critical. A patchwork of regional requirements risks causing confusion within an industry that truly is global in scope and nature,” Wiernicki commented on the road ahead.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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