Namely, the top priority in the following year would be the implementation of cyber security measures as vessels are more and more connected and further integrated into corporate IT networks.

In addition, in the new year, shipping companies will assess their risk exposure and develop measures to include in their Safety Management Systems to mitigate cyber threats. The owners are called to not only to be in line with IMO's regulations, -coming into force in January 2021- but to also ensure their assets, IT and operational technology is protected from rising cyber threats.

Year 2020 will bring many changes in the spotlight of the shipping industry, highlighted by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) meetings on 13-24 January to discuss progress on modernising the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and performance standards for navigational and communication equipment.

The meeting will focus on improving Inmarsat's GMDSS services and will continue with the implementation of IMO's e-navigation strategy. The sub-committee will discuss the feedback from joint working groups on harmonising aeronautical and maritime search and rescue, and from International Telecommunications Union’s group on maritime radio-communications matters.

2020 will also focus on developing regulations about testing and operating maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS).

One of the first tests for MASS will come in September 2020 when Mayflower Autonomous Ship attempts the world’s first unmanned transatlantic crossing from the UK to Plymouth in the US.