The Maritime Industry and the Cyber-‘Iceberg’


  • Rossouw Von Solms Nelson Mandela University
  • Suné Von Solms University of Johannesburg



Maritime industry, Cybersecurity, IoT, Cyber threats, Governance, Cybersecurity education


The maritime industry is embracing cyber technology. The proliferation of digitalisation in the shipping industry is apparent, as any modern vessel today is a complex cyber-physical-mechanically engineered system. The digital incorporation of operational technology (OT) and information and communication technology (ICT) systems in network and control systems has resulted in complex integrated shipping vessels. As most modern vessels utilise the internet to communicate with those on shore, it is true to say that shipping today has adopted cyber technology to enhance the efficiency of its operations. It is also true that the modern shipping industry has become totally dependent on cyber technologies for its future existence. Along with the integration of ICT and cyber-related technologies came numerous cybersecurity threats. These risks need to be identified and mitigated. If not properly addressed, these underlying cybersecurity threats can lead onto disasters of all different kinds. This paper discusses the integration of (ICT) and cyber-related technologies in the maritime and shipping industry, the related cybersecurity threats encountered and why these should be mitigated. It also suggests how senior management and the crew members can contribute in assisting to safeguard shipping vessels from these ever-present cybersecurity threats.

Author Biography

Suné Von Solms, University of Johannesburg

Suné von Solms


Prof. Suné von Solms is a Professor and Head of Department at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained a Ph.D in Computer Engineering, is a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher. Her research interests include networks and communication, engineering education, the social and human aspects of engineering and cybersecurity.