By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, March 11, 2021 An Information Technology Consultant, Mr Omoniyi Philip, has urged Nigerian shipowners to do more in leveraging Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to enhance safety of their ships and crew.
Philip spoke during a live Maritime TV programme with the topic; Ship Information Technology and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) issues, monitored on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to him, there there is the need for the country’s shipowners to also comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) rules.
The GDMSS is an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment and communication protocols, used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft.
Phillip said that leveraging information technology infrastructure would ensure that the ships and crew were safeguarded from hackers and pirates.
”Sometime in June 2017, around the Black Sea area, it was discovered that at least 20 ships around that region reported abnormally in their global navigational system.
”This made the IMO to come up with a Maritime Safety Committee, to look into the issue of cyber security, and they came up with a Maritime Safety Resolution.
”This is geared toward ensuring that every vessel manager should inculcate into their management system, certain risk assessment, hardware inventory development and maintain a register of all critical system hardware of the operational life of the ship.
”The resolution also states that from January 2021, any vessel not conforming to the regulation of the maritime cyber risk management in her safety system management will not be authorised to sail,” he said.
Philip urged Nigerian ships to adopt the system, as compliance would improve the security situation within the region.
He said that non-compliance would enable hackers to infiltrate the security network of the ships.
The expert said that once the network was infiltrated, certian automated equipment on the vessel meant to sail it safely to the harbour would be affected.
”When hackers come to the vessel, they can hack the data event recorder, cargo management system and onboard machinery system, and introduce ransomware to the system to control the vessel,” he said.
Philip pointed out that as regards search and rescue mission, ship owners and managers should ensure that their GMDSS equipment are up to date, to pass out the correct information needed.
He also urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure that its response delivery system was optimised, to meet threats posed by insecurity on Nigerian coastal waters.
”We need to equip all the rescue coordinating centres in this region, especially in African land, in terms of digitalised technology, and ensure that if a ship alerts them of danger at sea, they can, within an interval of five minutes, intervene,” he said.
Nigerian shipowners should leverage IT infrastructure for crew, vessels’ safety — Expert
By Chiazo Ogbolu