New recommendations on building cyber resilient ships


The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) has publicised a new recommendation on how to build cyber resilient ships. It applies to the use of technical systems that provide important functions on board such as control, alarm, monitor, safety and internal communication.

Since 2017, BIMCO has participated in the Joint Industry Working Group on Cyber Systems (JWG) - together with other industry organisations – to decide on the content of the new recommendation. It supplements the technical side of the general recommendations issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the operational recommendations published in the industry guidelines on cyber security onboard ships. The industry guidelines are currently being revised and the content of the new IACS recommendation will be included in this work.

In the IACS recommendation, the design, installation and integration of computer-based systems provide the means to protect new build ships against cyber incidents. It provides details on how to add resilience on the design and construction ship systems and how to maintain the resilience throughout the operational life of the systems. It has been written the following recognized elements of effective cyber risk management in mind:

  • Identify
  • Protect
  • Detect
  • Respond
  • Recover

These elements are also used in the IMO and the industry guidelines.

The work of IACS and the JWG continues with the aim of transforming the scope of the recommendation into a unified requirement (UR) thereby adding mandatory cyber requirements for ships that will be built in the near future. The development of the UR will start with an experience building phase that will last 12 months.


Aron Soerensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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