Digital Container Shipping Association Publishes IMO Cyber Security Mandate Guidance

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 19
March 10, 2020
Photo: Avigator Fortuner / Shutterstock

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has rolled out its cyber security guidance to prepare shipowners and vessels for the International Maritime Organization’s pending cyber security mandate. 

The DCSA is a neutral, non-profit founded by major ocean carriers to digitize and standardise the container shipping industry. It’s members include container giants such as MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM. 

IMO’s Resolution MSC.428(98) on Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems was adopted in 2017 to ensure that vessels’ cyber risks are appropriately addressed in existing safety management systems. The guidelines provide high-level recommendations related to maritime cyber risk management in order to protect vessel’s against current and emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities. The deadline for its implementation is set for January 2021. 

The DCSA cyber security guide aligns with existing BIMCO and U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology cyber risk management frameworks, enabling shipowners to effectively incorporate cyber risk management into their existing Safety Management Systems (SMS). 

“As shipping catches up with other industries such as banking and telco in terms of digitization, the need for cyber risk management becomes an imperative,” said Thomas Bagge, CEO, DCSA. 

Specifically, the DCSA guide will provide shipowners with tools to help designated technical crew members mitigate the risk of a cyber attack, or contain damage and recover in the event of an attack.

“Due to the global economic dependence on shipping and the complex interconnectedness of shipping logistics, cyber attacks such as malware, denial of service, and system hacks can not only disrupt one carrier’s revenue stream, they can have a significant impact on the global economy,” said Bagge. “As a neutral digital standards organization, DCSA is uniquely positioned to help vessel owners mitigate the increasing risk of cyberattack on their ships, and in turn, on the industry at large.”

“The DCSA implementation guidance provides a thorough and refreshing deep dive into the challenge of how to implement cyber risk management in a shipowner company,” added Jakob Larsen, Head of Maritime Safety & Security for BIMCO. “Initially thought of as a tool for container carriers, the guidance can also inspire the thinking in other shipping sectors as well as the ongoing update of the major shipping associations’ benchmark document ‘Guidelines on Cyber Risk Management Onboard Ships’.”

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