“Cyber-attacks and data theft appear to be the maritime industry’s Achilles’ heel,” says Marcus Baker, chairman of Marsh's Global Marine Practice, as a new report reveals the shipping sector is woefully ill-prepared to deal with emerging challenges. Baker and other officials expressed their view in a report by the Global Maritime Forum, broker Marsh, and the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI), titled "The Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2018", which examines the impact and likelihood of 17 major issues based on research among senior maritime stakeholders across over 50 countries. In addition to cyber-attacks, which were ranked as the top issue that the industry is least prepared for, executives also believe they have the highest likelihood of occurring. Cyber was only surpassed by events like the global economic crisis and energy price fluctuations, which are largely caused by problems outside their hands, in terms of the impact they could do to the industry, said the report. “Emerging digital technologies are challenging conventional business models and are creating new opportunities for the global maritime industry,” said Baker. “Along with its transformative power, this digitalisation is creating rapidly evolving risks such as cyber-attacks and data theft, said Baker, adding that: “It is worrying that, despite recent high-profile attacks, the industry is failing to get to grips with cyber risk." The industry does not appear to be prepared for any of these issues. “Worryingly, this is amplified by the fact that the issues the industry are least prepared for are the ones deemed to have potentially the biggest impact on the sector,” read the report. By taking a more strategic approach, firms are better positioned to capitalise on these opportunities, while protecting their people and assets from digital threats, he added. Other industry experts agree that the value of big data analytics and artificial intelligence is undeniable. Nick Maddalena, head of insurance business at marine risk analytics company Windward, told Reactions: “Previously unavailable insights into ship operations and the carriage of goods mean that risk selection and loss prevention can be taken to a whole new level. “Some companies are more prepared to embrace new technology than others, but one thing is certain - it isn't going away," he added. Maritime and tech The threat of cyber-attacks has the potential to be devastating especially as the sector has become increasingly reliant on advances in artificial intelligence. Technological advances mean large shipping losses have declined 38% over the past decade with this downward trend continuing in 2017. But concerns remain of the potential for future evolving losses, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s (AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review 2018. With a few notable examples, marine insurance claims recently have been benign, reflecting improved ship design and the positive effects of risk management policy and safety regulation. However, as the use of new technologies onboard vessels grows, developments in the maritime loss environment are expected. New risk exposures for the shipping sector include larger container ships pose containment and salvage issues, changing climate conditions bring new route risks, particularly in the Arctic and North Atlantic waters, environmental scrutiny over emissions, grappling with increasing automation on board. The most pressing issue for marine insurance is the rise of mega-ships, according to Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant at AGCS, told Reactions earlier this year. “The scale is simply mind-boggling,” he says, adding that ships are now quadruple the size of ones he worked on earlier in his career. They present a huge array of issues, such as firefighting. “It can’t... CLICK HEADLINE TO READ MORE!