Gone are the days where intricate plans to deploy bombs or hijack planes were the expected scenarios for a terrorist attack.
Shots in terror technology paradigm:
During the past year, there has been a notable shift in terror methodology. As it was demonstrated in the attacks in Nice, France; Westminster, U.K., and, just a few days ago, in Stockholm, Sweden, terrorists are now acting as lone wolves, flying under the radar by using vehicles, such as cars and trucks, in order to spread panic and death at innocent pedestrians and bystanders.
However, as terrorists methods become more simplified so as to avoid detection, one can’t help but wonder whether their next attack vessel is not located on land, but rather in the sea.
Serious security issues highlighted:
In a recent blog post, Maritime Electronics highlighted the serious security issues associated with autonomous vessels. Growing in popularity, crewless, fully autonomous ships are expected to soon occupy the majority of cargo ship fleets, while they also make for a low-cost alternative to manned tourist experience vessels operating in cities with canals around the globe.
While there has been no recorded incident of using sea vessels in mass terrorist attacks, experts predict that the next chapters of the war on terror will likely play out in international waters.
Hybrid Warfare is the new buzzword associated with the new status quo in global terrorism.
The weaponization of non-weapons is a key element of this concept. Hijackable ships, particularly autonomous vessels, are at-risk of weaponization, posing a significant risk not only to those working in the maritime industry, but to the world as a whole, said Mr. Adam Georg, Marine Electronics media representative.
He continued, Cyber warfare is not limited to online leaking of classified documents and private emails.
Theoretically, in pursuit of gaining an advantage over counter-terror intelligence, terrorists can digitally manipulate and hijack an unmanned vessel, through simply recruiting a highly skilled hacker.
Mr. Georg concluded his statements by saying Unfortunately, there are currently few regulating measures on autonomous vessel security, and most of them are not applicable on a worldwide level.
Cooperation necessary to tackle terrorism:
There needs to be complete, global cooperation towards the implementation of both technological and legislative security measures concerning autonomous sea going vessels, in order to avoid both the threat they pose not only to the environment, but to society, too.
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