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Get onboard with digitalisation to reap the benefits, says IEC's Nabil Ben Soussia

Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director – IEC Telecom Middle East & Kazakhstan, vice president – Maritime, IEC Telecom Group Nabil Ben Soussia, managing director – IEC Telecom Middle East & Kazakhstan, vice president – Maritime, IEC Telecom Group

IEC Telecom’s vice-president maritime Nabil Ben Soussia has urged maritime companies to get onboard the digital transformation train or risk missing the trip.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} Speaking during Digital Ship’s CIO forum held in Singapore yesterday, Mr Ben Soussia said, “Digitalisation brings great benefits and has the potential to create greater equality in the world. The reality is that the train is leaving the station and individuals and organisations need to get onboard quickly.

“For the maritime sector, the march of digitalisation offers the opportunity for greater efficiency, substantial cost savings, optimisation of vessel processes, and vastly improved communications between ship and shore, as well as for crew members.”

According to IEC, measures like being able to access the vessel management system remotely enable improved vessel and performance monitoring as well as more efficient maintenance regimes – saving time, money, and helping to meet environmental and other targets.

There are challenges to be overcome when digitalising vessel operations, he agreed, speaking at the forum. A stable and reliable connection is essential, as are robust back-up systems.

Highlighting the risks to vessels from cyber threats, he stressed the need for comprehensive and effective cybersecurity to be built into any digitalised systems, both onboard and ashore. “The more autonomous vessels are, the higher the risk is of a cyber-attack and the greater the impact of that attack could be,” he said, pointing out that the majority of cyber threats can be eliminated with the proper security processes in place.

One of the downsides to this rapid pace of development is that maritime regulation needs to move faster in order to remain relevant and not inhibit technological advancement. The rapid rise of new technologies requires a new set of global rules to manage operations and potential risks, Mr Ben Soussia warned. Shipping is a highly regulated international market but the process of introducing new regulations or amending existing ones takes many years and this speed needs to increase in order to keep up with the pace of change. {/mprestriction}

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