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June 9, 2020

Digitalization Steps In The Maritime Industry

Innovation & Fintech, Maritime
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I.                INTRODUCTION

The concept of the fourth industrial revolution or in other words, Industry 4.0 which has become widely heard in recent years; aims to combine the information technologies to transform or replace existing production processes with more efficient and low-cost production systems. Industry 4.0 affects many industries through its components such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, mobile devices, smart sensors and augmented reality and the like. Although the maritime industry does not come up as often as the examples in land and air transportation, it seems to have begun to keep up with this new era. In this article, we will examine the autonomous vessels and digitalized ports which become the most prominent topics.

II.             DIGITALIZATION STEPS IN THE MARITIME INDUSTRY

 Autonomous vessels, which are likely to change the face of maritime transportation like their equivalents of unmanned vehicles in land and air transportation, refer to the vessels where remote control and artificial intelligence practices in the dispatching and handling of vessels have increased and the level of commitment to human factor on the vessel has decreased to the lowest level. Autonomous vessels are considered as the reflection of the technological transformation process called Industry 4.0 to the maritime industry and vessels.[1] The first autonomous vessel trials were started by Rolls Royce, and works are carried out in Norway, Denmark, and Finland in this field. Regarding the future of autonomous vessel technology that is still in the infancy stage, the report prepared by the South Korea Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology Development (“KIMST”) includes the determinations about the future of autonomous vessels. According to this report, it is expected that autonomous vessels can be operated with or without remote control from the coast, and human intervention is expected to be included only in an emergency and exceptional cases. As a result of dehumanization, it is expected that bridge and living quarters will be removed from autonomous vessels thus widening freight areas. Each equipment and device installed on autonomous vessels will be interconnected and integrated to enable data collection, management, and analysis, and not only navigational operations but also pooling and maneuvering operations will be remotely controlled or fully automated. Besides, it is among the expectations that the vessel designs will be modified to avert the hijacking attempts by the sea pirates and to better load the cargo on the vessel.[2]

However, all these developments bring commercial and legal risks with them. The cyberattack or malfunction of the autonomous vessel’s systems, the determination of legal responsibility in the event of a wreck which involved the autonomous vessels, and how to insure autonomous vessels are just a few of the grey areas that would emerge in this context. In the same report, KIMST also cited new risk factors and possible scenarios that may arise with autonomous vessels.

Figure: Potential New Risk Factors that May Occur with Maritime Safety Due To Autonomous Vesselss

No Risk Factor Scenario
1 The emergence of cybersecurity threats

 

·  Hacker attacks to hijack the vessel or pera

·  Leakage of sensitive information about pera and customer

2 Equipment or device malfunction ·  The vessel faces adversity due to the failure of key operating systems, including the propulsion system.

·  Malfunction of the information and communication system required for autonomous operation, such as communication malfunction.

3 Incomplete or incorrect information ·  The information transmitted in communication with the coast control centre, including information regarding the operation of the vessel, is incorrect or incomplete.
4 Difficulty to notice the accident ·  The vessel peratör on the coast does not notice or delays in noticing the accident.
5 Difficulties in load management ·  Safety-related problems, such as setting the load on fire on unmanned (lack of seaman) vessels
6 Threats to port security ·  Armament of autonomous vessels

Resource: YILMAZ F, ÖNAÇAN M: “Otonom Gemi Teknolojisine Dair Gelişmeler ile Türk Denizcilik ve Gemi İnşa Sektörüne Etkileri Üzerine Nitel Bir Araştırma” Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Denizcilik Fakültesi Dergisi. 2019; 11(1): 57-86;  KIMST, 2018.

Ports are one of the most important centers of digitalization in maritime. It is observed that the internet of things, big data and cloud computing-based applications have started to be applied in ports in recent years. In this direction, the concepts of “Digital Port” and “Smart Port” were recently introduced to the sector. Digital ports are defined as the ports that combine broad communication infrastructure, flexible and service-oriented information infrastructure and innovative services, whereas the smart ports point to the use of a more comprehensive technology than digital ports. Smart ports combine better-educated individuals, skilled workforce, smart infrastructures and automation to facilitate information development and sharing, optimize port operations, increase port flexibility, ensure sustainable development and guarantee safe activities.[3]

The major smart ports in the world include Shanghai Port, Singapore Port, Rotterdam Port, Los Angeles Port and Hamburg Port. The smart PORT project launched by the Hamburg Port Authority in 2010 is notable as an example of innovative applications implemented in these ports. This project aims to develop intelligent solutions for port traffic and trade flows to optimize the information flow of the Hamburg Port and manage trade flows in the port efficiently. In this project; data are collected with the help of sensors applied to the port’s road, bridge, and railway connection points. Thus, it became possible to manage the port traffic flow and to detect possible operational errors.[4]

III.           CONCLUSION

In the maritime industry, which meets 90% of the world trade, contains many processes that digital transformation and industry 4.0 applications can improve and transform. Many developments that come to mind from ports and communication to the automation of the vessels evoke potential risks as much as how the maritime world is open and suitable for new technologies. Also, it is observed that some developments and risks touch grey points in the legal field and regulations should be made in these areas to keep up with the new age. It is hoped that the growing use of technology and digitalization in the maritime industry will affect the maritime sector of our country and contribute to the development thereof.

[1] YILMAZ F, ÖNAÇAN M: “Otonom Gemi Teknolojisine Dair Gelişmeler ile Türk Denizcilik ve Gemi İnşa Sektörüne Etkileri Üzerine Nitel Bir Araştırma” Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Denizcilik Fakültesi Dergisi. 2019; 11(1): 57-86.

[2] YILMAZ F, ÖNAÇAN M: “Otonom Gemi Teknolojisine Dair Gelişmeler ile Türk Denizcilik ve Gemi İnşa Sektörüne Etkileri Üzerine Nitel Bir Araştırma” Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Denizcilik Fakültesi Dergisi. 2019; 11(1): 57-86.

[3] BALIK İ, AYDIN Z, BİTİKTAŞ F: “Limanlarda Dijitalleşme: Çevrim İçi Medyadan Yansımalar” IV. Ulusal Liman Kongresi “Küresel Eğilimler-Yerel Stratejiler” 7-8 Kasım 2019 – İzmir

[4] BALIK İ, AYDIN Z, BİTİKTAŞ F: “Limanlarda Dijitalleşme: Çevrim İçi Medyadan Yansımalar” IV. Ulusal Liman Kongresi “Küresel Eğilimler-Yerel Stratejiler” 7-8 Kasım 2019 – İzmir

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