04 October 2018

Maritime summit tackles cybersecurity and autonomous shipping

Cyber-attack risk and faster regulation needed to prepare for autonomous shipping lead talking points at 2nd Malta Maritime Summit.

Fear of cyber-attacks and data theft came under the microscope on day three of the 2nd Malta Maritime Summit, in a session moderated by the Global Legal Post. An audience poll revealed that while the majority feared attacks, a third of participants did not know if their organisations had been victims of a cyberattack.

Call to action

In a session on fending off cyber-attacks and IT, moderated by Dr David Cowan the Global Legal Post editor-at-large, panelist Thijs Timmerman, cyber risk manager at KPMG Norway, said ‘knowing you are under attack is one thing, but not having seen an attack doesn’t mean there hasn’t been one.’ Jan-Sigurd Sorensen, Kongsberg’s strategic advisor, said the results highlights the problem of maturity in dealing with cyber. He explained, ‘it’s still an immature market. If you don’t know, it tells me you should go back and start doing the right things to make sure you can either answer this question yes or no. Saying I don’t know is a call to action to start working with us.’ Nearly half of the poll participants stated they had experienced an attack, and Mr Sorenson responded ‘the number of people who said they have experienced a cyberattack is higher than expected.’ Indeed, a recent Fairplay survey revealed there has been a recent in the number of attacks reported in the maritime industry as shipowners bolster defences. The panel noted that this year alone, cybercrime is estimated to cost the global economy around $600 billion.

Autonomous shipping regulation

In a session on human capacity building in developing countries, Professor Masamichi Hasebe of the Japan Association of Marine Safety, senior legal counsel, highlighted responses to challenges of new environmental requirements and emerging technologies such as autonomous shipping. Professor Hasebe told Global Legal Post, he believes autonomous shipping raises a raft of legal and regulatory questions and called for more work to be done on adapting existing legislation. While the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has endorsed a framework for a regulatory scoping exercise, he  said this will is the furst step in a ten year process, and suggested faster change may be driven by the Scandinavians, stating ‘Denmark, Norway, Finland can change domestic regulation without waiting for international regulation. They can adopt by themselves. Also, like-minded countries like Singapore and China, may also take the same approach.’ However, Professor Hasebe said what happens at sea will also be driven by developments in autonomous land vehicles.