Seafarers and Cyber Security

Today is designated as “Safer Internet Day” – a campaign in the UK to try and ensure that people know how to safeguard their online security. While that may work well at home, at sea it can be rather different. 

According to responses to the Seafarers Happiness Index, seafarers are rightly concerned about cyber security. However, they are worried that they are often seen as being part of the problem, but don’t feel overly engaged or even know how to be part of the solution.


Seafarers said that shipping companies are not doing enough to educate crew about the risks of cyber attacks or how to avoid them. It is widely known and universally recognised that vessels are increasingly reliant on automation and remote monitoring, with key components, including navigational systems, propulsion and power management, all parts of the overall system.

This can of course be compromised, with potentially devastating consequences, and seafarers know that they need to be part of safeguarding that. However, there is seemingly not enough guidance on how to do so.

Things have improved, with some good awareness and training materials available. From a seafarers’ perspective though, they feel that so much of the approach to protecting vessels is highly technical and they are not given the support or insight that they need.


One common thread was that seafarers know the basics, and are now better at not putting USB drives into key machines, and will no longer charge their phones through the ECDIS and the like. They also are aware of the threats posed by phishing emails.

So, in beginning to recognise and work towards these basics – they are concerned that there is insufficient support from ashore, and that the design of ship systems are not advancing quickly enough.

One seafarer commented, “Why do such important pieces of equipment have USB drives, when we only want to insert dedicated devices. Surely this type of thing needs changing”. It would be hard to argue against that. So while it is recognised that maritime cyber security requires unique skills and mindsets, seafarers just want more help in achieving those standards, and want to be adequately trained and prepared.



#28Days #Seafarers #Shipping Also check out the Mission to Seafarers website to learn more that the charity does to address many of the issues raised across these challenges facing shipping.

The Seafarers Happiness Index needs the support of those at sea, and of the shipping industry. So if you would like to be a part of driving positive debate and change – complete the survey or share your thoughts with us.

Back To News

Take the survey

Take the Seafarers Happiness Index survey now - and share your thoughts on life at sea today.

Get started now