The Norwegian fleet represents a formidable emergency resource for the Norwegian authorities and our allies. In order to contribute to global maritime security and strengthen the nation’s ability to utilise the fleet as a contingency resource, there is a need to further develop a comprehensive national strategy and plans in several areas.
Cyber crime a serious threat
Members of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association report cyber crime as the biggest threat to their activities. The digitization of the industry, and of society, offers many opportunities, but at the same time presents a number of vulnerabilities and challenges. The industry is working in earnest to improve security in both systems and infrastructure.
The most notable initiative has been the establishment of the industry’s own cyber security center, NORMA Cyber. In order to be as well equipped as possible, there is a need for close cooperation with relevant state actors. At the same time, the business community could act as invaluable listening posts and competence partners for the authorities.
Great interest in maritime cyber security
Piracy and regional armed conflicts
Following cyber crime, respondents rank geopolitical tensions and piracy. In 2020 alone, several Norwegian ships have been exposed to threats and situations in different parts of the world.
The situation off West Africa is the most demanding, with pirates attacking ships and kidnapping crew members for ransom. In 2020, more than 135 seafarers were exposed to this serious criminal activity. Regarding armed conflicts, many waters and ports present challenges to world trade. In 2020, the situation in the Middle East has continued to cause significant uncertainty in the industry.
The Norwegian authorities can contribute more actively to coordinated and comprehensive safeguarding of Norwegian shipping, particularly in demanding waters such as West Africa and the Middle East. The challenges are complicated and demanding, but willingness to coordinate and use the state’s instruments strategically and cooperate internationally can contribute to increased security and stability.
The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association encourages the authorities to:
- Develop a comprehensive national strategy to systematically contribute to improving the maritime security situation in vulnerable and prioritised regions
- Ensure that coastal states in vulnerable regions have legislation in place that criminalises and prosecutes piracy
- Contribute to the establishment of regional cooperation and agreements between vulnerable coastal states, enabling them tos hare information about ongoing attacks and implement collaborative countermeasures
- Establish arenas for the industry and regional partners to build trust and share information and experiences
- Assess military efforts that may de-escalate the security situation and contribute to long-term stability in the Middle East and West Africa
- Improve national defence in the cyber domain through close collaboration with NORMA Cyber