- The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM), a marine electronics development group, are proposing a standard of shipboard software maintenance to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Port Technology reported Thursday.
- BIMCO said the standard is necessary to prevent tech-related incidents on ships, causing delays, unforeseen costs for shipowners and security breaches caused by cyber attacks.
- The lines and organizations involved in supporting the proposed standard include BIMCO, CIRM, BP Shipping, Emarat Maritime, Kongsberg, Furuno, Maersk Line, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Radio Holland, Sperry Marine and others.
The move toward universal software maintenance and protection could help mitigate damage wrought by cyber attacks, but also streamline tech-related processes on board ships.
The June cyber attack on the A.P. Moller-Maersk came wholly unexpectedly, impacting both its terminals and booking service, as well as all Maersk vessels. Experts blamed the cargo shipping industry's lack of preparation and obliviousness to its own vulnerabilities.
While recognition of this flaw is driving the proposal for universal software standards of maintenance, it's taken the industry some time to get there.
"The shipping industry is good at disaster preparation, but it didn't perceive itself as vulnerable to cyber attacks, because it didn't understand the variety of threats," said Michael Bahar, a partner at Eversheds Sutherland, LLP. "What the attack on Maersk sought to do was undermine trust in systems. It was a pernicious manipulation of data for geo-political reasons rather than an attempt at theft."
"The fact is that no sector is immune," Bahar told Supply Chain Dive. "The shipping industry had a false sense of security. What it needs is the same systematic approach to cyber threats as its has always taken toward anticipating other vulnerabilities. In its entirety, the shipping industry needs a proactive, holistic risk-based and well-practiced cyber strategy."