Following the Petya ransomware cyber attack, Reuters reported that it is one of the biggest disruptions to hit the global shipping industry, affecting numerous ports and delaying and confusing shipments of goods of vital import.
Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipping line and operator of 76 ports, told Reuters that a number of its IT systems were still shut down and that it could not say when normal business operations would be resumed.
Several of Maersk’s port terminals in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands are still recovering from massive disruption caused by the Petya cyber attack.
In the U.S., the South Florida Container Terminal reported dry cargo could not be delivered and no container would be received.
In Tacoma, Wash., shipment unloading greatly slowed as workers had to switch to manual — paper — operations, said Dean McGrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23. The Washington terminal is a key supply line for domestic goods, like groceries and construction materials, for Anchorage, Alaska.
As Maersk is about 18 percent of all container trade, can you imagine the panic this must be causing in the logistic chain of all those cargo owners all over the world?” said Khalid Hashim, managing director of Precious Shipping, one of Thailand’s largest dry cargo ship owners.
“Right now none of them know where any of their cargoes (or) containers are. And this ‘black hole’ of lack of knowledge will continue till Maersk are able to bring back their systems on line,” he added.
Maersk confirmed the attack caused widespread outages to its computer systems across the world.
Petya Cyber Attack Exposes Shipping Industry Vulnerabilities
“The Maersk attack raises our awareness of the vulnerability of shipping and ports to technological failure,” said Professor David Last, former president of Britain’s Royal Institute of Navigation and adviser to the General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland.
“When GPS fails, ships’ captains lose their principal means of navigation and much of their communications and computer links. They have to slow down and miss port schedules,” said Last.
Shipping industry insurers are also pressed to understand how to mitigate risk of cyberattacks, thus there are gaps in coverage.
“The industry is just waking up to its vulnerability,” said Colin Gillespie, deputy director of loss prevention with ship insurer North.