Copyright Belgische Marine


Piracy requires maintained vigilance

Hijackings and attacks are any shipowner’s worst nightmare, given the threat to crew safety. Seafarers may be killed or held hostage for months in miserable conditions. The shipping industry goes to great lengths in its endeavours to prevent hijackings, by means of protective measures on vessels (alarm systems, cameras, barbed wire and private security guards), and through crew training.

However, beyond shipping, piracy also affects international trade as a whole.

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Cyber security, a continuous "catching-up" task

Cyber risk management is one of the shipping industry’s main challenges, as technology (IT) and Operating Technology (OT) systems onboard ships are used for a multitude of purposes, such as controlling engines and associated systems, cargo management, electronic sea charts, navigational equipment, administration, etc. Not only does it ensure the security and the safety of vessels, but it also protects the marine environment. Their use has traditionally been assumed safe and secure whilst not interconnected on board and also not linked digitally to ashore. Digitalisation of communication, integration and networking of shipboard equipment has, however, exposed ships to cyber risks and cyber attacks.

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Merchant shipping is still a part of the solution to the rescue of migrants at sea

In recent years merchant shipping has rescued thousands of refugees at sea in the Mediterranean. The shipping industry therefore does not question the humanitarian imperative to help people and ship in need of assistance. However we see that people traffickers abuse the law of the sea, putting thousands of lives in jeopardy. Therefore the humanitarian crisis is not only a problem for the international community, but it is also very much an issue for the shipping industry.

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