After An Earlier Cyber-Attack: IMO UPDATES CREW CHANGE PROTOCOLS
The Intl Maritime Organization (IMO) of the United Nations has issued updated protocols to ensure safe crew change and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a 61-page Circular Letter No.4204/Add.14/Rev.1 (Circular Letter) of 5 October 2020, IMO’s “Recommended Framework of Protocols” are detailed emphasizing the need for compliance and strict adherence with COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements the pandemic being now a reality in almost all national jurisdictions.
The changes also reinforce the importance of seafarers not commencing or continuing to travel if they feel unwell or suspect that they may have COVID-19 symptoms.
Some additional recommendations have also been included to prevent infection on board when seafarers join their ship. But, except for a few minor editorials, no other substantive changes have been made.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim expressed support for these Protocols and urged Member States and international organizations to make use of the Circular Letter among their relevant authorities for maritime issues, health, customs, immigration, border control, seaport and civil aviation authorities.
The protocols were first issued May 5, 2020 as Circular Letter No. 4204/Add. 14. Circular Letter No. 4204/Add. 6 has recognized seafarers as “key worker” in the global logistics chain.
The Circular Letter of October 5th is a product of exhaustive consultations with established relevant bodies like ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, INTERTANKO, P&I CLUBS, CLIA, INTERCARGO, INTERMANAGER, IPTA, IMCA, INTERFERRY, FONASBA, ITF, WSC and IATA.
Aside from compliance with documents and certifications, IMO advises seafarers that local authorities may often be preeminent over Conventions nor Agreements. Worth noting are two provisions, viz:
1.1.5 - Comply with all standard infection protection and control precautions related to social distancing, self isolation, hygiene (e.g. hand washing, avoid touching face, etc) and safe food handling practices in accordance with WHO, national or local guidance.
1.1.14 – Companies must provide seafarers with personal protective equipment (like masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, thermometer, etc) or PPE which may be made available by third parties for a specific time or use.
Meanwhile, a number of IMO’s web-based services became unavailable on last September 30th due to an unexpected cyber-attack.
Systems impacted included the IMO public website and other web-based services. IMO’s internal and external email systems continued to function, so did the KUDO platform (used for virtual meeting sessions with simultaneous interpretation).
The interruption of web-based services was caused by a sophisticated cyber-attack against the Organization’s IT systems that overcame robust security measures.
IMO has ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification for its information security management system. IMO was the first UN organization to get this certification in 2015.
The IMO Headquarters file servers are located in the UK, with extensive backup systems in Geneva. The backup and restore system is regularly tested.
The Secretariat is working with UN International Computing Centre (UN ICC) and security experts to restore systems as soon as possible, to identify the source of the attack, and further enhance security systems to prevent recurrence.
Service has been restored to the GISIS database; IMODOCS; and Virtual Publications. Other web-based services will be online as soon and as safe as possible.