IMO defends its position on cyber

Discussion at yesterday’s Asia Pacific Maritime (APM) exhibition in Singapore that the International Maritime Organization could lose its legitimacy if it fails to show leadership on cyber matters has prompted a response from the UN body.

K D Adamson, the CEO of consultancy Futurenautics, opened a digital debate at APM yesterday by saying that IMO’s failure so far to handle cyber issues could relegate it to irrelevance. “IMO will lose their legitimacy in the medium term,” she predicted.

Another panellist during the digital session, Mohit Batra, regional director at tech firm Enriam, argued that the key was to get a serious mindset change at IMO.

“Your readers might be left thinking IMO has not discussed cyber security issues at all.  This is not the case,” a spokesperson for IMO told Splash today.  

IMO has discussed cyber security in both the Facilitation and Maritime Safety Committees and issued guidance, the spokesperson said.  It has also adopted Resolution MSC.428(98) – Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems. The resolution encourages administrations to ensure that cyber risks are appropriately addressed in existing safety management systems – as defined in the ISM Code  – no later than the first annual verification of the company’s Document of Compliance after  January 1 2021.

Further, IMO Member States adopted the strategic plan for IMO at the last assembly, which recognises the need to integrate new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework – balancing the benefits derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry, and their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore.

Talk of the demise of the London-headquartered UN maritime body is not new. Frank Coles, the head of tech firm Transas, told delegates attending last year’s Maritime CEO Forum in Singapore: “The way technology is changing now it will be impossible for IMO to catch up and then they are dead and buried.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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