VentureIsrael News

Cybersecurity and automation in shipping

Portfolio Companies
Covid has taught the shipping world a lot of things. People can work remotely, global supply chains are fragile, and travel restrictions have placed an immense strain on the seafarers that are operating the vessels that keep the supply chains running.

From a human angle, the global travel restrictions put in place have led to crews being stranded onboard vessels, sometimes for over a year, simply because no country would allow crew changes. As a seafarer, there are no evenings, weekends, public holidays or days off when you are signed on. The job is 24/7, 365 days a year.

You know that when you sign onto a vessel but when seafarers remain on the vessels much longer than their original contracts, it is inevitable that fatigue will set in. This increases the risk of human error or poor judgement. The M/V Wakashio running aground and breaking apart in Mauritius is a good example of this. Why was the vessel sailing so close to shore, despite knowing the risks? The crew were trying to get a phone signal so they could call their families.

Shipping lines have been looking at autonomous, or semi-autonomous vessels for years. Crewing is the third largest cost of operating a ship, and the shipping industry is always looking at ways to reduce costs and perhaps Covid is going to be another push towards the goal of reducing the reliance on humans in the operation of ships.