How to use big data for maritime risk management


Adrian Clifton writes for maritime safety management company HiLo. It explains what big data is, how it works and the benefits it can have for maritime organizations.

Big data is one of the most talked about recent developments in business, and for good reason: it is revolutionizing knowledge and efficiency.

What is big data?

It can be summed up in 3 ‘V’: volume, velocity and variety:

  • Volume: Much larger amounts of data are now readily available from many different sources, through interconnected devices and the Internet of Things.
  • Speed: Data is received much faster, sometimes even in real time. It can be introduced automatically into systems to enable rapid analysis and use.
  • Variety: Easier data collection means you can get more variety. This can include unstructured information that would have been difficult to categorize in a traditional rigid system, but can now add valuable insight.

How can big data help shipping companies?

For the maritime industry, big data has enormous potential to improve safety and protect seafarers, by revolutionizing maritime risk management.

Internal data available from shipping companies increases the accuracy of forecasts, allowing companies to identify the cause of individual problems and spot patterns. So you can change practices, introduce new technologies and streamline processes to proactively prevent incidents.

Why do shipping companies need Big Data?

Traditional maritime risk management has been informed by:

  1. Analysis of past maritime security incident reports.
  2. The real and subjective experiences of security managers.

While both of these provide great value, they can only allow you to make security improvements retrospectively. There are several limitations to the effectiveness of this traditional method:

  • This data is limited, as deep internal data is not publicly available, so information about the true cause of an incident may be missed.
  • Information is often somewhat outdated, as its relevance can only be analyzed and realized after a significant incident.
  • Every incident has a unique set of circumstances, so without enough big data to begin to see a pattern, it’s difficult to draw conclusions from an individual incident to help prevent future security issues.

Therefore, while useful, this traditional data is difficult to translate into proactive preventative actions.

Data-driven decisions to manage marine risk

Thanks to the advent of Big Data, there is now a source of data with complete and clear information on the entire industry. Combined with peer-reviewed statistical analysis, this provides the foundation for the marine industry’s most effective decision support security system, showing not only the risks you face, but also how to address them.

Benefits of big data for maritime risk management

The more information you have about past problems, the more accurate your knowledge is to anticipate and prevent future problems.

This is due to the fact:

  1. By understanding one event, you can see how it causes another
  2. Because you have this data early, the chain of cause and effect can be broken before an incident occurs.

In short, with sufficient, varied, and up-to-date data, it is possible to predict the future with increasing accuracy and stop problems before they start.

Additionally, if future issues arise, a comprehensive big data collection system will ensure they are quickly added to the knowledge center. With this additional information at your fingertips, these issues can be analyzed quickly and are more likely to be resolved before they cause a serious incident.


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