Cybersecurity first claimed by ABB and DNV GL

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In what is being called a milestone for the marine industry, ABB’s propulsion and remote monitoring systems on board a large passenger ship has been awarded cybersecurity verification from classification society DNV GL. The two organisations say that as a result, this vessel became the industry’s first to achieve system compliance under DNV GL’s framework for integrated cybersecurity.

The vessel is powered by ABB Azipod electric propulsion system and connected to ABB Ability Collaborative Operation Centers worldwide and thus is part of the global support network where ABB experts continually monitor operational shipboard systems, coordinate remote equipment diagnostics and offer predictive maintenance services.

The state-of-the-art cybersecurity resilience for the vessel was enabled by close collaboration of ABB, the shipowner and DNV GL during the construction phase at a shipyard in Europe. Cybersecurity management processes will continue during the ship’s operations, with the system’s resilience maintained throughout the lifetime of the vessel.

“It is vital that the maritime industry focuses on cybersecurity as an essential part of both design and operation,” said Johann Melsted, Area Manager Benelux & France for DNV GL. “Which is why we are so pleased to be working with forward looking partners, who are prepared to engage with this emerging risk and demonstrate their commitment to tackling cyber threats.”

In order to achieve sustainable shipping, vessels are increasingly fitted with integrated automation systems and digital solutions. As part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the vessel’s systems are more connected than ever before, presenting threat vectors previously unheard of in shipping. This is driving the need for closer and earlier collaboration on cybersecurity between all key stakeholders in the newbuilding process. DNV GL’s Integrated Cyber Security Dependent Systems verification establishes a framework to address cybersecurity levels for the main functions of a vessel – both during construction and in operation.

While the framework is applicable to any vessel, greater sophistication and deeper integration of operational technology systems in complex vessels such as cruise ships mean that appropriate cybersecurity management is paramount. While digitalisation offers opportunities to measure and manage efficiencies across the entire fleet, securing these data streams is critical to the safety of the vessels’ passengers and crew.

“ABB recognizes the importance of cybersecurity in the marine industry and is working closely with shipowners, yards and classification societies to enhance cyber resilience of ships,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. “As vessels become more electric, digital and connected than ever before, it is of vital importance that we equip and empower seafarers with reliable solutions that are cyber secure.”