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Maritime Cyber Safety and Security


The past several years have seen a rapid and expansive growth in automation applications in maritime systems. Nearly every aspect of the vessel’s operation has been affected. Systems with increased reliance on automation now include:

• Communications Systems

• Navigation, steering and positioning Systems, e-NAV

• Power and propulsion management,

• Ballast, cargo, fuel and bilge control,

• Stability control,

• Auxiliary systems, and

• Fire and safety systems.

In addition, integration of these separate, automated systems with each other, often through common networks and “systems of systems” applications such as auto-pilots and dynamic positioning systems, is more commonplace.

As vessels become more automated, more integrated, and more complex, safety, reliability, and integration aspects among ship systems become more critical. While these increased cyber applications and integration have often led to increased efficiency and improved safety performance, the technology also creates the potential for new failure modes, security vulnerabilities, and causes for accidents and close-call events.


The Committee on Marine Safety and Human Factors (AW040) encourages research on Cyber Risk Management in marine systems and vessels. Eligible studies can cover a broad range of topics related to marine automation. These include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

  1. System development and verification tools and techniques

  2. Human Systems Integration (HSI) and Human Factors Engineering (HFE) aspects

  3. Bridge Resource Management (BRM) adaptations associated with increased automation

  4. Cyber related incidents and accident investigation results, lessons learned and causal factors

  5. Cyber security and system integrity

  6. Systems integration and software configuration and change management best practices

  7. System Reliability and Redundancy, Adequacy of Back-up systems as well as maintenance of mariner proficiency around traditional techniques


This research can help enhance the safety and security of the marine Transportation System.

Sponsoring Committee:AW040, Marine Safety and Human Factors
Research Period:6 - 12 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Joseph Myers
Date Posted:09/05/2019
Date Modified:09/06/2019
Index Terms:Maritime safety, Computer security, Automation, Ships, Technological innovations,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Marine Transportation
Data and Information Technology
Safety and Human Factors
Security and Emergencies

Please click here if you wish to share information or are aware of any research underway that addresses issues in this research needs statement. The information may be helpful to the sponsoring committee in keeping the statement up-to-date.