IMO urged to tackle cyber security issues

London: The roundtable of international shipping associations comprising BIMCO, ICS, Intercargo and INTERTANKO are developing standards and guidelines to address the major cyber security issues faced by the shipping industry.

“Protection against malicious attacks on computer based systems onboard ships is now hitting the top of the agenda for shipping organisations in all corners of the world,” the grouping said in a release.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already heard calls for action and the insurance industry repeatedly lists the issue as one for concern. The roundtable has made a submission to the IMO on this vital issue outlining the steps taken by the industry to address any vulnerabilities.

The guidance the roundtable has made for shipowners and operators includes how to minimise the risk of a cyber-attack through user access management; protect on board systems; develop contingency plans and also manage incidents if they do occur.

The roundtable and CIRM (Comité International Radio-Maritime) are also in the final phase of developing a standard for the maintenance and update of programmable electronic systems.

Angus Frew, secretary general of BIMCO, said: “The standards under development are intended to enable equipment manufacturers, service personnel, yards, owners and operators, as well as crew, to ensure their shipboard computer-based systems are managed securely – and kept up-to-date to protect against the ever-growing threat from exploitation by criminals.”

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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