The Smart Maritime Council, a cross-industry membership group focused on technology harmonisation, standardisation and interoperability, has released a new set of best practice guidelines for data ownership and access in the maritime sector, providing a recommended list of data control issues for shipping companies and technology providers to consider when discussing contracts for the supply of shipboard systems.
The Smart Maritime Council is an initiative created by the Smart Maritime Network in 2019, bringing together maritime service and equipment providers, vessel operators and related industry stakeholders to discuss technology issues across the global transport chain.
The ‘Data Ownership and Access in Maritime – Best Practice Guidelines‘ document published by the group includes recommendations on establishing ownership of the data created by vessel equipment and systems, translation of digital signals into usable data formats for analysis, consent-based sharing with third-party analytics providers, and other related issues of key importance as the digitalisation of the maritime industry continues to progress.
In all, the publication highlights 11 key considerations for industry stakeholders to discuss at the beginning of any contractual relationship for digitally enabled systems, to ensure that data ownership and access rights are agreed upon early in the process and that any subsequent use of the data created by shipboard equipment is based on the principle of informed consent between the relevant parties.
“We are delighted that the diverse range of organisations represented within the Smart Maritime Council have been able to come together in the spirit of collaboration to create these wide-ranging guidelines, with the goal of improving data access across the industry,” said Rob O’Dwyer, Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council.
“The in-depth discussions that have taken place within the group over the last eighteen months have seen the recommendations expanded and refined to the point where we believe we have created a comprehensive list of data-related issues that vessel operators can raise with their suppliers to ensure that they are giving themselves the best opportunity to take full advantage of their digital assets in the future.”
“With some of the industry’s biggest names supporting this publication – both technology providers and shipping companies alike – we hope to inspire others in maritime to build on these recommendations and make improved access to data a key component in their digital strategy, with the ultimate aim of supporting a more efficient and sustainable shipping sector.”
The best practice recommendations document is available to download from the Smart Maritime Network website and can be freely used by industry stakeholders in any capacity they believe will be beneficial, particularly in offering guidance on data access in situations where strong precedents have not already been established.
“Best practices are our best guide to creating a logical escalation of important issues that are not yet governed by rules and regulations, but are relevant to our operations and generating efficiencies,” said Peter Schellenberger, Vice President Supply Chain, Thome Ship Management, one of the vessel operators represented on the Council and a key contributor to the recommendations.
“Shipping often acts only after regulatory frameworks have been set, but it is very useful to sit together as an industry and discuss/agree on certain best practices to follow so that WE shape the environment, and not a regulator that may have different drivers.”