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Insurers braced for loss of ships due to cyber attacks

Ships could be lost thanks to cyber attacks soon, a report from Lloyd’s Joint Hull Committee (JHC) in association with law firm Stephenson Harwood has warned.

“The risk of a loss to a ship as a result of cyber disruption is foreseeable, but is not yet a reality,” the report, issued yesterday, stated.

A systemic threat which could conceivably result in multiple losses on a scale which might impact the solvency of the world’s insurers and reinsurers does not yet exist, the study noted, adding that there is still time for owners and operators to plan and ensure that computer systems onboard ship and ashore are as secure as is reasonably practicable.

Offshore related vessels are more at risk than other ship types, the report claimed.

An attack on a ship could be mounted from ashore and intended to overcome defences in place, or from the inside, where a person in a position of trust either onboard or within the company office is induced to assist the criminal, either for gain or under some form of duress.

One analysis of the progress of e-navigation, the report warned, is that the insurance market has less than five years to prepare itself for the risk of a cyber-attack at sea materialising into a hull and machinery loss.

The full report can be accessed here.



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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