This is an independent blog on ships and shipping, with a particular focus on the role and impact of information technology and communications. Some of the articles here appeared on the BIMCO website where I have contributed a monthly column for more than a decade.

Yes we can! (maybe)

With the political fervour in the US growing daily stronger it seemed appropriate that the 2016 Satellite show followed hard on the heels of the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor on the outskirts of Washington DC.  But even once the politicos had departed, the prevailing mood echoed the incumbent president’s best-known slogan. There is [more…]

Full steam ahead for unmanned ships?

The industry conversation on the topic of unmanned ships has entered turbulent waters. Its proponents say they can deliver the technology – though the initial project groups are only now investigating the subject in any depth – but doubts have been expressed about the regulatory framework that would permit their use. The issues are numerous. [more…]

Maritime satellite gets with the programme

Maritime communications spent a long time being of little interest to most people. Beyond safety requirements, it took the dotcom boom to generate a significant uptick in activity, as software entrepreneurs discovered this ‘untapped’ market. That ended with the dotcoms going belly up, but the Rubicon had been crossed. There was now a clear realisation that [more…]

A better image? Be careful what you wish for

I have read this article several times now and I still don’t know whether to laugh, cry or go fishing. I don’t fish, but I’m prepared to learn if it takes me away from reading about the ‘image of shipping’. There are some good points in Gary Howard’s piece, but there is back story too. [more…]

Five things it would be good to hear at Satellite 2015

Young people tell me that the listicle is the way to go (flexible length, no need to build narrative flow) so here’s what I’m hoping for from Satellite 2015 next week. From a maritime industry perspective, few of these things are likely: Satellite is peer-to-peer show more concerned with orbital insertion and the potential of [more…]

High noon for the noon report?

During last year’s DigitalShip CIO Forum in Rotterdam I was asked whether I had changed my position on unmanned ships and the potential use of autonomous systems for navigation. I replied that only a fool would bet against technology (just as betting against bandwidth proved such a mistake) and that there seemed little doubt that [more…]

It’s true, the future is a foreign country

The strange object has recently found in a Shanghai coffee shop. The item, which resembles a single sheet of paper made of black wafer-thin Perspex has, after some head-scratching, been identified as a highly-advanced tablet computer. Its password cracked, it has been revealed as the iPad belonging to a shipping industry executive working in the [more…]