July 17, 2018

Maritime security research at Safety@Sea Week in Singapore

  • Focus: Maritime security, resilience engineering

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures made its first appearance as a partner at International Safety@Sea Week. This event was organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and held from 18 to 23 June 2018 in the Southeast Asian metropolis. It relied on a security-oriented approach to tackle the current urgent problems affecting maritime transport. The focus of this year’s event was the goal of the safe passage of shipping, with the slogan 'Towards Safer Navigation – Lessons, Insights and Trends'.

In this context, Dennis Göge, Programme Coordinator for Security Research at DLR and Founding Director of the Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures, took a novel approach during his keynote speech entitled 'From e-Navigation to Resilience Engineering'. "In future, resilience engineering will be used as a method for the comprehensive observation of maritime infrastructures to increase the security of existing and new maritime systems. This includes the ship system," says Göge.

Only a safer maritime trade route is also efficient

With technological progress, a change of awareness with regard to ecology and a shift in the global flows of goods, ocean transport has a connecting function between many participants who depend on the reliable functioning of the entire maritime value chain.

Over 90 percent of the world’s merchandise is shipped via maritime trade routes. In particular, resource-intensive industries and all downstream processing industries are highly dependent on the trouble-free functioning of global maritime trade. The requirements for security in ocean transport are constantly increasing. For technologies to evolve, maritime transport – the backbone of global trade – must be permanently secure and reliable, at least at a consistent level. Maritime trade is exposed to numerous threats and, in recent years, has had to adapt to new threats due to extreme weather events, geopolitical conflicts, regional factors and maritime crime. The security of the goods being transported is not the only essential component of these considerations. Minimising the risks to the safety and welfare of seafarers is also an important factor.

The path from e-Navigation to Resilience Engineering

In future, the requirements for the security of maritime infrastructures in international trade will continue to increase. In order to take this development into account, DLR has founded an institute with the aim of intensifying its research activities in this area. In order to influence future security, one focus of the DLR Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures is the field of resilience research. This relatively young discipline pursues the goal of understanding and describing systems relationships with regard to their relevance to security concerns.

The 'resilience-by-design' approach that is being pursued seeks to support technological change in the maritime world and provide concepts that address how tomorrow' s commerce can better cope with changing security challenges. In the future, more powerful technologies will be needed to give stakeholders a comprehensive opportunity to understand the safety levels of their assets and provide them with decision-making support. The development of such technologies in the field of sensor systems, but also the intelligent processing, integration and fusion of the data acquired using these, will be a further focus of the Institute's work.

Security research at DLR

In security research at DLR, research and development activities relevant to defence and security are planned and controlled in coordination with partners in government, science, industry and international organisations. The cross-sectoral area 'security research' combines the core competencies of the established DLR programmes in aeronautics, space, energy, digitalisation and transport. More than 20 DLR institutes and facilities are contributing to the development, testing and evaluation of technologies, systems and concepts, as well as to the analysis and assessment of safety-relevant applications.


Andreas Schütz

Head of Corporate Communications, DLR Spokesperson
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-2474

Dr. Dennis Göge

Founding Director
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Fischkai 1, 27572 Bremerhaven

Carl Philipp Wrede

Head of Strategy and Business Development
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute for the Protection of Maritime Infrastructures
Strategy and Business Development
Fischkai 1, 27572 Bremerhaven