SAFETY4SEA: How does greater connectivity change life onboard?
Tore Morten Olsen: I think there are several aspects of having a strong and resilient always-on connectivity onboard. One of them is the crew itself: They enable them to stay in touch with friends and family, to go on with their business doing banking and to stay in touch with those people at home. So it has great benefit for the crew, but also for the vessel operation. Connectivity is a key enabler for them to be able to operate their business more efficiently, whether this is in terms of operational efficiency saving fuel by using smart data or it is to provide better services to their client by, for instance, enabling tracking and unconditional base maintenance for other containers onboard.
S4S: We are living in the age of connected ships; do you believe that shipping is safe & secure with regards to cyber risks?
T.M.O: I think there is never going to be a 100% guarantee because the ultimate reason for being attacked on a cyber threat is the behavior of the individual onboard; a lot of this has to do with awareness of people to not inject a USB-stick into a computer that is on the network and really be aware of the potential threats there. At Marlink, what we do is providing a lot of different services in our cyber guard portfolio to prevent any type of attack. And then, launched at SMM, also a detection service, so that if there is a problem we will be able to see it and notify the vessel that there is a problem on a certain computer or somewhere.
S4S: How vulnerable are smart technologies and applications to cyber-threats and how can we minimize the possibility & likelihood of a possible attack?
T.M.O: I think there are several things that can be done. We can do a lot with technology and we are doing that developing applications and solutions that are safer and more secure. We can make sure that the software is always updated and that any virus threat is taken care of, but we ultimately also need to educate people and provide training so that the human interface is minimized, the risk is removed and awareness is increased with the people onboard. All these actions together will provide a safer environment when it comes to cyber threats onboard.
S4S: What are the key things to have in mind when providing communication solutions for vessels?
T.M.O: I think that, the important thing when making an investment in putting a broadband solution onboard, you need to make sure that it is future proof, that you will be able to benefit from the evolution of technology that will happen over the next few years. My strong recommendation would be to find somebody to work with, that is able to provide you with different solutions for your different requirements and not lock yourself into one single system. In my view, the future is multi-connectivity, different satellite systems at different terrestrial systems, all to the benefit of the vessel and its operation.
View herebelow the video interview with Tore Morten Olsen, President, Marlink Group at SMM 2018, September 4-7, Hamburg, Germany:
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.