Maritime security in the 21st century
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has highlighted the Organization’s work and response to a changing maritime security landscape. Speaking at the ‘Maritime security in the 21st century’ symposium at the Brazilian Naval War College, Rio de Janeiro (20 July), he said that “threats to the port and shipping sectors are constantly evolving and so is IMO’s response” and emphasized that “IMO is addressing the digital revolution in all aspects of its work”.
Autonomous vessels, known as Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), was one of the issues raised by the Secretary-General, who said that IMO is currently assessing regulatory aspects in this field, which includes looking into the subject from the aspects of safety, security, legal liability, responses to incidents and marine environment protection. The Secretary-General also highlighted the Organization’s growing concerns about cyber security, and the potential vulnerability of ship’s onboard information technology and operational technology systems.
Mr. Lim went on to emphasize that the maritime industry can both drive and support a growing economy and help achieve a truly better world, and that, therefore, safe, secure shipping is key to a far wider constituency than just the industry itself.
In a technical side event on MASS, IMO’s Chris Trelawny also spoke about the issue, giving an outline of how the regulatory process at IMO works, and that a correspondence group looking into the issue had been established at IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 99) and started its work. IMO welcomes input from its Member States into the group, which is undergoing a scoping exercise on the current regulatory landscape relating to MASS.