Maritime security is an important aspect of national security, given the fact that India has a coastline of over 7000 km. Our natural geographical terrain necessitates strong maritime security, on internal as well as international waters. Today, we discuss the various trends in maritime security that are having an impact on the world.
The ideology of maritime security has developed a lot over the past few decades. As technology has advanced, physical threats to boats and ships are now being overshadowed by technological threats. Here, we see the different aspects of maritime security that matter and the individual trends in each.
In the upcoming blogs, we will dive deeper into each of these aspects and their overall impact in detail.
Ports are the lifelines of ships, even as ships are the lifelines of global trade. The multitude of activities carried out at ports includes cargo loading and unloading, repair, maintenance, logistics, and much more. In recent times, there has been a persistent increase in the illegal movement of individuals, weapons, drugs, etc. at ports across the world, which is a great threat to maritime security of all the nations.
To curb this, ports have undertaken a technology-driven approach, automating as many processes as possible to reduce human intervention. A number of ports are in the process of digitizing their operations to drive efficiency, while the new ports are experimenting with increasing capacity and getting upgrades.
A great example of this is Singapore’s Tuas Port Project, a fully automated transshipment hub on the western side of the island. This next-generation port aims at the consolidation of port activities to increase efficiency in port operations and is anticipated to have a capacity of 65 million TEUs by 2040. Port automation is at the heart of this mega project, as the terminal will be equipped with automated yard cranes, driverless trucks, drones, and data analytics. Next Generation Vessel Traffic Management Systems will be instrumental in early detection of potential hot spots, i.e. chances of accidents, and automatically determining the best routes for vessels.
As demonstrated by the Tuas project, effective port operations, timely response, systematic procedures, situational alertness, smooth emergency measures, and an overall increase in awareness about maritime sustainability are the trends that matter. Together, these are expected to increase port security manifold.
Ship security includes everything related to keeping the ship safe through its journey – cargo, personnel, equipment, and more. In cases of threats like piracy, the ship security officer is expected to implement the ship security plan to ensure that the integrity of the ship is preserved.
In the past decade, there has been an exponential increase in the use of computer-based technologies which in turn has impacted the way ship security is perceived. According to the Global Maritime Technology Trends 2030 report, the growth of software-based systems is anticipated to cause a resultant increase in sophisticated malware, in addition to the ever-persistent cyber threats.
There is a greater emphasis on using advanced solutions such as deep learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, drones, and industrial IoT to become aware of potential threats to ships, well in advance. The chief requirement now is to train all crew and officers to take these new technologies into stride and stay updated with the upcoming innovations to ensure better ship security.
Offshore security entails the protection of offshore entities like the oil and gas industry rigs and drilling platforms. There is a need for continuous assessment of risk management in offshore projects, including any internal and external threats that may arise.
Over the years, this field has grown to encompass the use of advanced reconnaissance and surveillance technologies that provide accurate information about surrounding activity in the sea. Intelligent reporting systems are used to process this data and obtain detailed information about the environmental and maritime conditions at every second.
Digitization has become a key element in the operation of offshore rigs, often based on the commercially available components and operating software. For instance, the updated Port Community System (PCS) software is facilitating a smooth, paperless flow of operation in the offshore activities of the maritime sector. This has resulted in faster turnaround time, reduced dwell time, and hence, greater ease of doing business.
The shipping industry is well aware of the rising cybersecurity risks and has taken several steps towards combating these threats. However, the importance of cybersecurity in building a safe and sustainable maritime environment is expected to increase even further in the coming years. In this study by Juniper Research, it is estimated that the quantity of data stolen in cyber crime will increase by as much as 175% in the next five years. This makes cybersecurity one of the most imperative aspects of maritime security to be considered.
As the most common cause of cybersecurity breaches is due to lack of knowledge or negligence of the personnel, the primary focus these days is towards creating awareness about the existing cybersecurity technology and making sure that the crew follows precise procedures while handling it.
The second most important concern is the creation of efficient tools that will assess the maturity of the maritime organization and provide suggestions regarding any existing loopholes. There are very few tools today that are designed specifically for the maritime industry, hence, this aspect of cybersecurity will be at the forefront of technological innovation.
Cyber attacks are often underestimated because no direct threat to the organization is visible. In fact, in a survey conducted by the Lloyd’s List Forum, only 8% of respondents perceived cyber attacks as the next greatest threat to shipping. Seeing this, there is a distinct requirement for increasing the awareness about cybersecurity and the measures that need to be taken in implementing the same.
Vessel security is similar to ship security, only with a broader focus, as it takes into account the smaller boats and vessels in the industry as well. Over the past few decades, automation has emerged to play a major role in vessel security, as has the development of strong communication technology.
Constant communication with onshore support systems for updates about maritime and environmental threats, smart systems to assist in vessel operation, and the drive towards sustainable vessel design for faster response times are some the trends that have dominated this space for a time. The increasing environmental impact of vessels, which has led the IMO to establish the sulfur cap, has also played a significant role in influencing vessel security in shipping.
Naval security in shipping is taking a technological turn in the future. Although the learning curve has been pretty steep for the past years, the adoption of technology in naval security is definitely on the rise, with advanced data management and processing tools coming into the picture. Big data analytics, collaboration for mutual exchange of intelligence information, and a collective effort towards ensuring sustainable maritime transport is the chief driver for naval security.
Optimization, reduction in cost while improving efficiency, and a strong focus on coordinated security efforts are some of the main factors that will play a role in naval security.
Technology remains the chief driver even as maritime organizations, shipping industries, and boat manufacturers try to keep up with the digital advancements. There are several challenges regarding the adoption and implementation of the new tools that are coming up, nevertheless, there is also a more positive approach towards the same.
What are your thoughts about the trends that will dominate shipping security this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Stay tuned for the next post as we talk about Port Security – the challenges, adoption, and trends to look out for.