Cobham, the UK satellite communications provider, at the centre of an embarrassing ship hack, has laid the blame on a client. A Cobham spokesperson said, “An individual claimed they achieved unauthorized access to our VSAT system by using default administrative credentials. Our terminals, as is customary with most communications hardware, are delivered with default administrative credentials such as passwords which we strongly advise VSAT users change during technology installation and frequently afterwards in accordance with general password-best-practice processes. Cobham stressed it is standard practice.
William Doyle, a Federal Maritime Commissioner based in Washington DC, has warned shipping lines to be on alert for cyber attacks, saying that if Maersk can be hit, anyone can. Maersk was hit hard by the Petya ransomware attack three and a half weeks ago, and is still not able to operate 100% normally. In a statement Doyle said that Petya should serve as a “teachable moment” for all entities in the maritime and logistics transportation chain. “This cyber attack happened to Maersk, the largest ocean carrier in the world. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone".
With an increase in throughput of 3.9%, the port of Rotterdam can look back a good first half year. There was growth in eight of the ten market segments. The only falls were in the volumes of mineral oil products and other liquid bulk. In particular, the volume of containers handled (9.3% in TEU, 10.4% in tonnes) was the determining factor for the overall growth in throughput. Dry bulk increased (5.2%), liquid bulk decreased slightly (-1.0%) and break bulk was very much on the rise (10.8%). A total of 238.0 million tonnes of goods were handled in the first half of the year.
China’s ailing shipbuilding sector has seen a near one-third year-on-year decline in newbuilding orders over the first half of this year, leaving work-hungry Chinese yards still struggling to stay afloat in the troubled sector. New shipbuilding orders received from January to June this year came up to 11.51m dwt, down 29% compared to the same period of 2016, according to data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). With China being a huge shipbuilding market accounting for 42.4% of the world’s new ship orders, the decline reflects slowing interests by shipowners on buying new ships.
IMO has noted that the loss of life of migrants at sea needs to be addressed through action at the UN. During a workshop in Geneva, IMO’s Julian Abril underlined that the number of merchant ships involved in rescue operations has remained relatively constant since 2015. The role of government and NGOs is vital in search and rescue operations, as well as the part played by merchant ships. The average number of persons rescued by each merchant ship remains over 110. In 2016, a total of 381 merchant ships were diverted from their routes and 121 ships were involved in the rescue of 13,888 people.
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