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Shipping’s Safety Improving, But New Threats Like Cyber Will Require Additional Financial Resources from Ship Owners

Allianz launched its latest annual survey on shipping safety. With this occasion, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide (www.hellenicshippingnews.com), held an exclusive interview with Captain Andrew Kinsey, Senior Marine Risk Consultant at AGCS. Among his conclusions from the findings was that autonomous ships shouldn’t be seen as a panacea, when it comes to enabling for safer seas. “Ships would be safer with larger, better trained and more alert crews”, he noted. Below you can read the full interview:

Allianz’s Annual Report on Safety and Shipping is one of the industry’s main focal points each year. Looking back at the past 12 months, would you say that things got better or worse, in terms of maritime safety?

Maritime Safety continues to evolve and while we have seen demonstrable reductions in numerous key reporting areas, including year on year total losses, as the report states the growing complexity and interconnectivity of shipping risk’s pose a challenge. So while we continue to see improvements, continued vigilance is required.

Is shipping’s track record when it comes to improving safety standards a positive one? Do you see the industry in a better place to prevent losses today, as opposed to previous years? Is this backed by numbers?

Yes, safety continues to improve but we are all facing increasing economic pressure and it is vital that safety does not suffer as a result. New threats, especially cyber require additional resources to properly prepare the industry.

Which areas present the biggest perils when it comes to maritime losses? Where is added vigilance needed?

Crew negligence and inadequate vessel maintenance are just two of the key areas that need to be monitored and addressed. This is a matter that all concerned parties need to take an active role in supporting.

Piracy is down the past few years. Yet, new attacks in Somalia have emerged lately. Which are the latest trends in this matter?

The root cause of piracy in Somalia have not been addressed, as a result when the opportunity presents itself there will be people willing to take the risk for the economic reward. We know the steps that have worked in the past and need to continue to follow the BMP4 Guidelines, however additional work is needed to support Somalia infrastructure and address the root causes.

Cybersecurity risks have been one of the main issues raised over the course of the past couple of years, when it comes to shipping. Based on the report’s findings, which shipping operations are most likely to be hit by such an attack and what steps should ship owners take, in order to prevent them?

I wish I knew where the next cyber attack on shipping would occur but that is not the nature of the risk. The pervasive nature of the risk is one reason why it is so important for the entire shipping community to adopt robust cybersecurity procedures and ensure that they are properly implemented.

Is bigger autonomy in ships the answer to human error incidents, which account for the biggest percentage of sea losses?

It is not a panacea, it can help but the key lies in proper training of crews. I believe that ships would be safer with larger, better trained and more alert crews. While it is critical that best in class automation should be integrated across all ship systems, crews are still needed to evaluate, monitor and act on the data received.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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