04_201_2016One of the leading regional maritime security providers, Al Safina Security, has highlighted the continued need for shipping companies and ports to remain vigilant and to give a proper priority to security related issues.

Based in the UAE, Al Safina offers innovative cyber security solutions for the marine and energy sectors. Kateryna Yakunchenkova, general manager, says: “In today’s globalised world the maritime domain plays a central role, but we are seeing that geopolitical changes are affecting each and every aspect of the marine field. For example onshore instability in Yemen and Libya has noticeably disrupted maritime operations, forcing unplanned closures and delays at the ports of Hodeidah, Al Mukallah and Aden.”

Even though operations have resumed at these ports, the threat environment remains elevated, Al Safina says. Ms. Yakunchenkova adds, “As for Libya, we can see how the lack of proper legitimacy of local authorities brings security considerations for vessels calling at ports, and adds the complexity of the operating environment. An oil tanker that left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf last week was the first crude oil export cargo from the terminal since late 2014, boosting hopes of reviving Libya’s oil output.”

Automation and the threat of a cyber-attack is another key trend highlighted by the company. “A cyber-attack could disrupt or completely shut down operations, steal information, affect production schedules, increase operational costs, or cause legal liability and company reputation issues,” says Ms. Yakunchenkova. To address this issue, Al Safina Security is now offering a compliance solution for critical infrastructure that provides a highly secure industrial automation and control systems environment. Additionally it is advising clients to comply with the latest industry’s Guidelines on Cyber Security which have been published by BIMCO.

The company recommends that shipping companies’ cyber strategy must focus on the human aspect, educating and training staff to raise awareness and skills in cyber defence. Ms. Yakunchenkova says, “Cyber-attacks represent a serious threat to the maritime and energy industries and might lead to consequences that go beyond delays, annoyance and costs. It is therefore essential to develop a robust protection regime against any potential cyber threat and work in team to effectively prevent it.”

Al Safina further stresses that even though Somalia-based piracy has been suppressed, it is not eliminated. In light of the existing threat, that could escalate any time, Al Safina Security offers tailored services, starting with a risk analysis and security systems implementation up to providing armed security personnel on board. Ms. Yakunchenkova adds: “With our extensive experience and professional approach we offer effective and reliable solutions to secure our clients and their assets against potential threats making sure they operate in safe and secure environment.”

Source: The Maritime Standard