Can ‘Connected Smart Ship’ Be The Future?



A recent announcement was made by a largest ship builder to collaborate with a global management consultancy, to design a ‘Connected Smart Ship’.

So, What is a ‘Connected Smart Ship’?

It is enabling ocean carriers to manage their fleets and achieve operational and financial improvements through the application of digital technologies.

How can this be achieved?

A network of sensors will be built into new vessels.  With this, the owners can track:

  • Location of the vessel,
  • Vessel’s Direction,
  • Speed of the ship,
  • Weather and Ocean Currents,
  • Status of on-board equipment and cargo.


  • Applying Real-time analytics can enable personnel to make data-driven decisions on maintenance, scheduling and other functions that will support efficiency.
  • On a reefer –
    • Intelligent containers created using technology with analytics can allow them to track and collect real, or near real-time information, on cargo, specifically temperature-sensitive goods packed into refrigerated units, from origin through to destination on land or on sea.
    • Devices that can monitor temperature and humidity but can also detect elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as shock, vibration, location and light/open door conditions will be equipped.
    • Also, an option to add probes that can be inserted inside packaging to provide pulp temperature of some commodities is available.
    • The centrally located command and control centres will easily identify the situation such as temperature deviation beyond the set point caused by equipment malfunction, human error or simply failing to plug in the reefer ashore or onboard.
  • Remote monitoring is a risk mitigating tool for both the shipper and the consignee, but it may pose greater liability to the ocean carrier for any cargo loss/damage due to their ascribed next level of care, custody and control.
  • The shipment data may be made available to customers which enable them to know when, where and what events occurred, facilitating the claims process and ultimate recovery.


  • The ability to unilaterally adjust conditions remotely, for example the temperature settings, either by the ocean carrier or the shipper could potentially pose a threat to the well-being of the shipment.
  • The more the ship becomes ‘Smarter’, the more is the risk in data breach.
  • Connectivity may make vessel operating systems more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.  While the devices offer tangible benefits, their inherent connectivity makes them and the vessel operating systems they monitor or support, more vulnerable to attacks so cyber insurance should be a consideration and factored into their design and use.

It seems as if these advances involving technology pose a risk-reward dichotomy.  Hence, remote monitoring is considered a boon and a curse as well.

Source: IUMI