The latest annual Interferry conference shone the spotlight on the need for the ferry industry to focus on cyber security and on boosting safety in developing countries.
Speaking to Passenger Ship Technology at the end of the event, which took place in Mexico, its chief executive Mike Corrigan said the event this year “Achieved us exposure in Latin America – it is the first time we have been in Latin America – we need to get to all corners of the earth.”
Ferry safety in developing counties is a particular focus for Interferry – its Safety Committee was launched a year ago with the aim to set up safety standards and is beginning to “gain traction”.
Mr Corrigan said “Getting the contacts is a big thing and we are looking at opportunities to get funding from other agencies, we are looking at organisations to give us seed money to help us in these parts of the world.” (Interferry is a non-profit organisation).
Indeed, there was a focus on improving safety in developing countries, where Indonesia Ferry Association head Kemal Heryandri spoke of the need to boost safety in the country. Mr Corrigan singled out Indonesia as a country Interferry wanted to help.
Genscape Vesseltracker’s David Hewson also singled out how AIS could boost safety and prevent many incidents in developing countries. The company has teamed up with Worldwide Ferry Safety Association to carry out an AIS pilot in Bangladesh.
The focus was also on the global maritime sector, with several sessions, including a presentation of CSO Alliance’s plans for a ferry-specific security alliance between ferry ports and ferry operators.
Within this topic, cyber security was involved. “This is affecting everyone in every walk of life and we want to share what is going on,” said Mr Corrigan.
In the security panel discussion, Washington State Ferries (WSF) chief executive Amy Scarton highlighted the importance of training. She said at WSF, “every employee has compulsory annual cyber security training, looking at for example not plugging personal devices into a work station and guarding against accessing our network in public.”
She emphasised that the focus must be on the individual. “It is through an individual that all cyber attacks gain access and it is individual communication that thwarts attacks. As an industry we must challenge ourselves to focus on culture and communication as we move into the cyber world.”