Maritime cyber security: preparing for rough seas ahead

Protecting Africa’s maritime sector from cyber attacks is vital for the continent’s development and prosperity.

Digital advances in the maritime sector can increase efficiency, but as the July Transnet cyber attack showed, they also expose the industry to new threats. To benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the safety of sea routes, ports and vessels should be a priority for African states. This includes protection against cyber attacks.

Cyber security and the AfCFTA are flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and ensuring maritime cyber security is vital for the continent’s development and prosperity. This seminar will discuss the links between maritime and cyber security, and the roles of the private and public sector actors responsible for reducing the risks.

This seminar is co-hosted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) at Stellenbosch University. SIGLA will publish a special co-edited issue of Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies on maritime cyber security based on the seminar proceedings.

Chair: Professor Francois Vrey, Research Coordinator, SIGLA

Keynote address: Abdul Hakeem Ajijola, Chairman, AU Cyber Expert Group

Panel 1: Maritime cyber security and governance in Africa – challenges and solutions

Chair: Karen Allen, Senior Consultant, ISS


  • Denys Reva, Research Officer, ISS Pretoria
  • Mourad Ghorbel, Maritime and Port Security Expert, International Maritime Organisation 
  • Lars Benjamin Vold, Managing Director, Norwegian Maritime Cyber Resilience Centre  

Panel 2: Emerging threats and the African maritime cyber landscape

Chair: Noelle Cowling, Cyber Program Lead, SIGLA


  • Chris Myers, SIGLA
  • Elmarie Biermann, Director, Cyber Security Institute  
  • Waldo Fourie, Director, Mackay Marine South Africa  
  • Brett van Niekerk, Senior Lecturer, University of KwaZulu Natal
Development partners
This seminar is funded by the government of Norway and the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa, Stellenbosch University. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Related content