Cyber security at sea

Cyber threat is new unwarranted intentional or unintentional action which effects our technologies, computers, programs and data. Cyber security is not only about IT and its peripherals, and it is not only the responsibility of IT departments alone. Company and organization required to take a holistic, proactive, risk-based and well-practiced approach to identify the threat, invest in infrastructure and training, to make each staff and crew member aware about it.

The days are not far when there will a requirement of cyber certification and company will have to employ a Cyber Security Officer in office, and on board a passenger vessel.

On one hand reports are received about Japan and Norway developing and testing ships without crewmember, and on the other hand we are hearing news of Wannacry and Petya cyber attack. Due to lack of defence mechanism risk of attack is always high on oceangoing vessels, however the impact of an incident to be most likely to confined to a single ship.

Recent cyber attack on major shipping company office computer system has caused congestion in 76 ports operated by them and delay in cargo worldwide. Company has put the cost to this attack at $300mn.

In companies, a simple way of hacking could be hacking the emails, if emails are hacked, then hacker would monitor all emails to and from, specially from finance department. Whenever any big supplier will send an email and ask for payment,  the virus would simply changed the text of the message before it was read, adding a different bank account number.  A bunker supplier’s million dollar invoice can be settled to hacker’s account by simple hacking of email.

Below are the minimum protective elements on board now a days for cyber security, it must be included in IT procedure and followed by all;

  1. Fire wall
  2. Back up files regularly and keep anti-virus software up to date.
  3. Access control
  4. Spam filtering
  5. Anti phishing
  6. Strong passwords/two-factor authentication where necessary
  7. Encryption of sensitive data – at storage or when transmitted.
  8. Protection of ports of all hardware against using any foreign device.
  9. Do not allow any third party, service engineers, suppliers to connect their devices to onboard system.
  10. Remove all old and redundant system completely. It can be used as on board hacking device by hackers.
  11. Data and information from obsolete system should be destroyed completely before disposing off.

Immediate action is required by used in case threat of hacking is felt or attacked –

  • Power off the device and contact IT department.
  • Disconnect your PC from the internet.
  • Reformat the hard drive.

Increased dependency on automation, digitalisation and shore to ship connectivity is making the ships vulnerable to cyber attack. Most important vulnerable systems are as below and what would be the effect of attacking these systems;

  • Bridge equipment – Autopilot, Radar, Gyro, ECDIS, Dynamic Positioning system, AIS, SVDR – It will cause loss of navigational integrity.
  • Communication system – Satellite, VOIP, Internet, WLANs
  •  Propulsion and machinery system – Main Engine governing, Power management, Integrated Control System, Alarm monitoring system – Loss of propulsion or external control of ship.
  • Access control system – BNWAS, CCTV network, SSAS can be
  • Cargo management system – Cargo planning & control system, Ballast Control system, Alarm and level indicators.
  • Passenger information – health records, financial records of passengers on cruise ship can be hacked.
  • Core infrastructure – VPN, Firewall, security gateway, LAN. Can be used to still ship’s data or information.

The cyber attack would cause following incidents, which should be included in contingency plan of cyber attack of ship;

  • loss of availability of electronic navigational equipment or loss of integrity of navigation related data.
  • loss of availability or integrity of external data sources, including but not limited to GNSS
  • loss of essential connectivity with the shore, including but not limited to the availability of

  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) communication

  • Loss of availability of industrial control systems, including propulsion, auxiliary systems and other critical systems, as well as loss of integrity of data management and control

  • The event of a ransom ware or denial or service incident.


Additional cost for ULSFO compliance

Slide1We cannot put price on nature and saving environment is never too expensive.  Saving the environment, the planet, the eco system is not only government’s job; private partnership is always required where private fitments are there contributing to damage of nature. It is either through self initiative or through forced national or international regulations.

With New regulations for ULSFO compliance into force from 1st January 2015, ULSFO cost is 50-55% more expensive than normal IFO 380; as of September 2017@Rotterdam , ULSFO price is $490/m ton, where as IFO 380 is costing $320/mtons.

ULSFO cost of compliance 2015-2016;

  • A big container vessel is consuming approximately 150 m tons of fuel /day,
  • 2-3 days transit to ECA area on one way, so total transit days – 5-6 days in one call to EU area.
  • Vessel calling from China to Europe or USA will occur extra cost every time in the tune of USD170X5daysX150 tons = USD127000.
  • Assuming 6 calls to EU each year, additional cost of fuel will be approximately USD 700,000-1,000,000 per vessel.

Besides this there are one time cost of installation of separate ULSFO system, chiller plant etc  for older vessels, costing approximately USD100,000.

If we consider only sea going vessels arriving port of Rotterdam in year 2015 & 2016  , 56000vessels alone called port of Rotterdam in 2015 and 2016.  Considering all other ports in EU and USA (ECA), total number of seagoing vessels arriving these ports will not be less than 200,000 in 2 years. Estimating average additional ULSFO fuel cost of USD500,000 / vessel, in last 2 years 500,000X200,000 = USD10,000,000,000 = USD 10Bn has been spent for ECA compliance.

Above calculation is estimated, however close approximation, and total additional cost of fuel consumed to comply with ECA regulation is enormous and will have definitely a great impact on freight and profitability of ship owners.

However, it will be  good for environment and our coming generation in long run.


Ship demolition -2016

Opposite to shipbuilding where development of ship passes through many processes, ship recycling is rather quick, however again it has to follow some guidelines. Few years back, there was no guidelines for shipbreaking, accidents in shipyard were usual, some accidents were immediate and some were effecting in long term, like fumes and asbestos exposer to which causes cancer risk.

As per,  20,4 million Gross Tonnage recycled in 2015, which consisted of ; Bangladesh 33%, India 22%, Pakistan 18%, China 21%, Turkey 5% and Rest of the world 1%. Different sources shows different figure of ship recycling in Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and India but it is true that approximately 80% of ship recycling takes place in these countries.

EU Ship Recycling regulation – Adopted on 20th November 2017 , objective is to reduce the negative impact of recycling of ships flying European member state flag ( Top 3 are Malta, Cyprus & Greece).   Under this regulation all large seagoing vessels will be recycled only in safe and sound recycling facility approved under EU guidelines. Not only the European flagged ships but European ship-owners are also joining this list to support this regulation and in turn 2009 HK convention.

Recent development in Hong Kong convention to make the industry safer and more environmental friendly.

2011 Guidelines for the Development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials

2011 Guidelines for the Development of the Ship Recycling Plan

2012 Guidelines for Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling

2012 Guidelines for the Authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities

2012 Guidelines for the survey and certification of ships under the Hong Kong Convention

2012 Guidelines for the inspection of ships under the Hong Kong Convention

2013 Adoption of Ship Recycling code




Golden Stripes – Leadership on the High Seas

Leadership on the high seas?
A professional leadership approach is required to motivate & improve the ability of each individual, and propel the motivation of the ship as an organization.
Captain VS Parani, FNI, FICS, CMarTech has taken the initiative to fill this gap and has written a book Golden Stripes- Leadership on the High Seas,  which is the world’s first book on leadership for mariners, by a mariner.
What the book is about?
How to run a tight ship? How to keep yourself, your crew, and your ship safe? How to be an expert professional? How to make the right decisions, every time? How to act appropriately in the face of danger? Communicate with confidence. Be inspired by legendary sailors. There are stories and cutting edge insights which have received international acclaim. It is for navigators and marine engineers, whether early in their career, or experienced and want to take their leadership to the next level. 
Be part of a social cause.
Part of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Mission to Seafarers. 
Take action
Read Golden Stripes and take it with you to your ship. Share the news with your shipmates. Gift it to a friend. Discuss the book with your team. Invest in your own copy of the book through
It is also available through major retailers worldwide such as Amazon, Ebay and eventually at selected bookstores.
Connect with the author
You’re most welcome to visit his website to read his blogs & discuss ideas
Feel free to connect with him on Facebook: https://www., ership.on.the.high.seas/
LinkedIn: https://www. a5ab6363/ or Twitter: Parani VS@GoldenStripesLS.

Golden Stripes- Leadership on the High Seas

The world’s first leadership book by a merchant-mariner

Bunkering at Singapore

Before 2017- bunkering at Singapore often ended up in a dispute and finally ship owner, charterer and ship staff remains at receiving end of the loss. Under pressure of vessel departure, and lack of much support from anywhere, ship staff settles the dispute hurriedly and accepts the loss. In the case of Cappuccino bunkering, bunker shortage is discovered after few hours or days of sailing. To prevent malpractice, MPA is regularly monitoring and taking action against suppliers, barge or tanker operators.

2016, yearly sale of HFO, MDO, LSFO bunker was 49000,000 Metric ton in Singapore port (as per statistics from MPA Singapore, Bunker sales data Singapore port). Considering just 1 per cent short supply of bunker, total loss to receiving end is approximately 4900000MT. If calculated at an average bunker rate of 300USD/ton, bunker lost by charterers or ship owners is approximately 1470million USD per year. In this calculation we have not considered MDO or LSMDO price, otherwise the loss would be higher.

In Singapore there are  about 15 bunker brokers, 60 suppliers and approximately same number of traders. Out of these 60 suppliers, 20 suppliers are main and wins most of the supply.

Recently MPA Singapore has taken measures to improve the bunker malpractice;

  1. New bunker survey licence to have better regulatory control over bunkering company and bunker surveyors, in tern it will have help the interest of all bunkering stake holders.
  1. From January 1st 2017, MPA will require to use Mass Flow Meter for all marine fuel supply in Singapore port for accurate measurements and to avoid any malpractice or dispute.

These measures will help bunker receiver to get accurate amount of fuel, no unwanted pressure, no dispute and eventually no financial loss to charterers or owners.

MRV – Collecting ships’ fuel consumption data

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of IMO in the 69th session meeting at IMO Headquarters in London (18 to 22 April) has approved draft amendments to the MARPOL, it is mandatory fuel consumption data collection system,  intended to be the first in a three-step process in which analysis of the data collected. It  would provide the basis for an objective, transparent and inclusive policy debate in the MEPC. Key features of this policy is as below;

  • To date, IMO is the only Organization to have adopted energy-efficiency measures that are legally binding across an entire global industry.
  • Due to new measures by 2025 all new ships built will be 30% more energy efficient than those built in 2013.
  • IMO would be required to produce an annual report to the MEPC, summarizing the data collected. Data would be anonymized so individual ship data would not be recognized.
  • This would allow a decision to be made on whether any further measures are needed to enhance energy efficiency and address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

“Under the system, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above will be required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. The aggregated data will be reported to the flag State after the end of each calendar year and the flag State, having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, will issue a Statement of Compliance to the ship.   Flag States will be required to subsequently transfer this data to the IMO Ship Fuel Consumption Database.”

Source – International Maritime organization

Shipping & safety review by Allianz

Annual shipping and safety data by Allianz has been published, it shows improved safety and lesser losses because of robust safety environment and self-regulation. Below are key points of the report;
•85 large ships lost worldwide in 2015, down by 45 percent over a decade. Saturday is the safest day and Thursday is the most frequent day for shipping incidents.
•Losses has increased in top global hotspot, i.e. South China and South East Asian waters.
•safety concerns are rising due to pressurising cost caused by Economic and market conditions.
•There were 2,687 reported shipping incidents (casualties including total losses) globally during 2015, down 4 per cent.
•For the first time in five years, piracy attacks failed to decline in 2015 (source International Maritime Bureau). South East Asian attacks rose, accounting for 60 per cent of all incidents. Attacks in Vietnam surged year-on-year.
•Lower emissions safety threat: There have been unexpected safety implications from the shipping industry’s drive to reduce emissions, resulting in power issues related to rising use of ultra-low sulfur fuel. AGCS has seen an increase in machinery claims related to fuel.
•Cyber risk exposure is growing beyond data loss. Pirates are already abusing holes in cyber security to target the theft of specific cargoes.

Read Allianz review report

Source – AGCS safety and shipping Review 2016

Technology insight in shipping

Global economy is slowing but technological revolution has increased many folds and future is it. DNV GL 5 yearly Technology Outlook 2025 has been published, it gives insight into selected industry for next 10 years.

Data generation, digitalization and low cost satellite communication has made ships  floating computers. Data generated from ships are being analysed to improve safety and environmental performance of the ship from building to operation stage. Use of sensors,  low cost and faster  information flow will encourage existing processes and functions onboard to be automated further.

In next 10 years, additive manufacturing and 3-D printing should enter in shipping too, it will help in producing spare parts when and where required. Presently generation of energy is through large rotating and passive components; hybrid power, renewal energy and micro grid will be key change in energy production and transmission.

Read more full report.


eWAVE piston rings

2 stroke engine, with conventional flat piston rings, cylinder oil distribution is uneven; only 10% cylinder lubricating oil makes it to the rubbing surface between liner and rings, 30-40% oil goes to exhaust and 30-40% oil is scrapped down. As pressure in the cyliner rises the piston ring presses hard to the liner surface, therefore to prevent high wear of rings, more lubricant is required between liner and piston rings at higher pressure or load.

One of the leading piston ring manufacturer, Federal-Mogul  has developed and tested eWAVE piston ring which is able to save approximately 20% lubricating oil, thus saving in operating expanses and reducing pollution too. This is acheived by designing the ring circumference in such a way that it allows more oil to disperse circumferentially, creating a homogenious layer an preventing hydrodynamic breakdown. It has been already tested for more than 20000hours and confirmed reduction in lub oil consumption and wear of liner and ring packs.

Read more-

New conventions and amendments 1st July 2016.

Below are 2 new conventions and amendments which are expected to enter into force from 1st July 2016.

1 July 2016 – SOLAS – container weight verification
Amendments to SOLAS chapter VI. This was long pending issue and considered major cause of instability on container ship; or even severe accidents.


Wrong declaration of cargo weight in container is very common, which helps shipper to save some freight cost, however if 1000’s of containers has wrong weight then one can imagine what will be the cumulative effect on ship’s stability. Master calculates ship’s stability as per documents provided by planner, planner has documents from shipper and at present there is no verification method in place to get the correct weight (Maximum gross weight is 32480kg) of each container whether it is 20′, 40′ or 45′ normal or high cube.
So this amendment will require mandatory verification of the gross mass of each containers. There are few possible methods, either by weighing the packed container fully, or all packages to be weighed at the time of stuffing. Now a competent authority must verify the cargo weight. at the time of packing the container.
Weighing containers at the time of loading at terminal is another verification where each container will be weighed during loading on board. This facility is not provided on all ports and needs huge investments to modify all cranes.

1 July 2016 – SOLAS -atmosphere testing

Amendments to add a new SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 on Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces, to require ships to carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument, it should be capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed spaces.