BIMCO and CIRM (Comité International Radio-Maritime) have taken the concept of the onboard software log to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to automate and modernise it. As a result, the ISO has published a new standard on a ship software logging system to be used for operational technology onboard ships.
With the new ISO standard, life will be easier for everyone, as each ship will be able to keep track of information about thousands of different software installations. The ship software logging system requires an initial log entry for equipment and includes a repository of electronic service reports associated with log entries.
“The new ISO standard is an important first step to assist digitalisation and integration of operational technology systems on ships,” says David Loosley, BIMCO Secretary General.
“A ship will now have access to a register of the shipboard software and know which versions of the software that are used. All the tedious and error prone manual updating and record keeping of software onboard ships will start to be automated with this standard,” Loosley says.
An Industry Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment was published by the two organisations in 2017 with the goal of ensuring that software can be effectively maintained by identifying, planning and executing necessary measures – such as updates - throughout the full software lifecycle. The new ISO standard supports the Industry Standard by helping to automate record keeping of software maintenance in a standardised format on every ship. Today, such record keeping either is non-existent or made through individual - and in many cases homemade - systems. The consequence is both a waste of resources, and potentially a safety and cyber security risk.
“Having participated in development of the new standard ISO 24060, CIRM’s member companies are well-placed to implement the ship software logging system,” says Frances Baskerville, Secretary-General of CIRM.
“The new standard paves the way towards better automation of software maintenance procedures, with the aim of improving efficiency by reducing the manual administrative burden on ships’ crews and service personnel.”
The ship software logging system defined in ISO 24060 can be automatically updated by status reports sent from connected equipment. The initial version of ISO 24060 also provides for manual updating of the software log in acknowledgment of the reality that ship-wide networks are atypical and standardised digital interfaces are not always present on equipment.
It is expected that ISO 24060 will evolve over time together with increasing digitalisation and when experience on the use of the introduced concept accumulates, to a future point when the software logging process will be fully automated.
Regarding the next steps for the Industry Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment, BIMCO and CIRM intend to propose development of a further technical standard in the ISO 24060 series, based on the concept of the Electronic Service Report.
Full details of the new standard ISO 24060 Ships and marine technology — Ship software logging system for operational technology
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