Riviera – Opinion – Study: the resurgence of cyberattacks threatens maritime traffic, ports and offshore platforms
Dr Karim said that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the primary global regulatory development forum for ensuring maritime cybersecurity, and that it has a key role to play in shaping international law that is fit for purpose. use to combat maritime cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
“Despite the adoption of non-legally binding guidelines and a quasi-legally binding resolution on cybersecurity, the IMO falls far short of developing specific, binding cybersecurity regulations,” he said. .
“Nevertheless, certain provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention), the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention), the Convention for the Facilitating International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) and related codes and protocols are relevant to ensure the cybersecurity of ships, ports and offshore infrastructure.
“For example, the 2005 amendment to the SUA Convention, while not directly addressing cyberterrorism, is helpful, as is its criminalization of the use of a vessel to perpetrate maritime violence.
“Despite their relevance to maritime cybersecurity, none of the IMO conventions comprehensively address cybersecurity.
“Urgent legal reform is needed because legal response is much slower than rapid technological innovation, use and abuse.”
Dr Karim said enforcement of international maritime cybersecurity regulations is another pressing challenge as there is no universal enforcement jurisdiction for maritime cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
“Therefore, the prosecution of maritime cybercriminals and cyberterrorists is difficult,” he said.
“Two potential legal avenues for the prevention of maritime cybercrime are found in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which imposes a general obligation on flag States to take measures to protect the safety of their ships. , and in doing so “is bound to comply with generally accepted international regulations. (UNCLOS, article 94).
“UNCLOS primarily refers to IMO legal instruments as ‘generally accepted international regulations’. UNCLOS and customary international law also recognize the right of coastal States to enact and enforce national laws for safety and maritime security, but this power is limited when it comes to foreign vessels,” Dr Karim said.
“Therefore, an international legal architecture requiring uniform maritime cybersecurity standards and deterrent penalties for perpetrators of maritime cybersecurity crimes is of paramount importance for effective action against cyberterrorism and cybercrime.”
Maritime cybersecurity and IMO legal instruments: a slow response to a growing threat? was published in Shipping Policy.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the QUT website.