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International shipping associations address cyber security in maritime

BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo and INTERTANKO have announced that they are together developing standards and guidelines to address the major cyber security issues faced by the shipping industry.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The group, collectively called the Round Table of international shipping associations (RT), says it has made a submission to the IMO on this issue outlining the steps it believes need to be taken by the industry to address any vulnerabilities in computer based systems onboard ships.

“The vulnerabilities can be numerous and the threats imminent – the question of protection is a complex set of issues and not just about operating a firewall on a ship or installing virus scanning software on the onboard computers,” the group says.

“All of the major systems on a modern ship are controlled and monitored by software; these include the main engine, steering and navigation systems, and the ballast water and cargo handling equipment.”

The RT has already begun working with industry partners on a number of complementary projects to develop standards and guidelines to address the cyber security issues.

The group’s guidance to ship owners and operators includes advice on how to minimise the risk of a cyber-attack through user access management, protect onboard systems, develop contingency plans and also manage incidents if they do occur.

The RT (through BIMCO) says it is also already working with CIRM (Comité International Radio-Maritime) on the final phase of development of a standard for the maintenance and update of programmable electronic systems.

“The Round Table representing the global shipping industry is taking cyber security seriously,” says Angus Frew, Secretary General of BIMCO.

“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.”{/mprestriction}

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