Most people in the world do not understand and appreciate their nation's reliance upon the maritime transportation system (MTS) for their very way of life. In the U.S. alone, the MTS makes a $5.4 trillion contribution to the economy, representing about 25% of our nation's gross domestic product and supporting 30 million jobs. Roughly 80% of global trade and nearly two-thirds of the world's total petroleum and other liquid energy supply is carried by ship. In the U.S., approximately 90% of our imports/exports move by sea, emphasizing the fact that most global supply chains are existentially dependent upon maritime.
The ongoing digital transformation in the MTS sector has the potential to eventually pave the way for autonomous, smart, and sustainable shipping and to further increase the efficiency of MTS. The connection of ships to the Internet via satellite communication, ship-to-shore communication required by fleet operation centers, satellite navigation and radio-based situational awareness systems, shipboard communications, and maritime cloud services are of particular interest of the planned special track.
However, given the importance of MTS on the one hand, and the growing threat of cyberattacks and malicious electromagnetic activity on the other, protecting our MTS and maritime communication systems must be a top priority not only from an economic view, but also from a social and political perspective. Backlogs at ports during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, EVER GIVEN's Suez Canal obstruction in March 2021, and attacks on merchant ships off the Yemeni coast in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels starting in October 2024 have made the world community acutely aware of how fragile and vulnerable our global supply chains are. In addition to merchant ships and shipping lanes, physical infrastructure that needs to be secured also includes port facilities, and passenger and cargo terminals, as well as related infrastructures that include oil and gas platforms, offshore wind farms, and subsea pipelines and cables. In the context of the Ukraine conflict, the grain embargo, through its global impact, has shown the need for safe, reliable, and unimpeded maritime transport. Moreover, fueled by the current geopolitical situation, increased state-level and military-directed attacks from cyber and electromagnetic space have been observed, raising concerns and forcing responsible authorities to act. Finally, the attacks on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which occurred in September 2022, highlight the need for more networked monitoring and surveillance systems, both on the surface and underwater.
In recent years, only a very few works on maritime communication systems and maritime cybersecurity issues have been published at the LCN, despite being a relevant area of interest for the LCN community and despite urgent social, economic, and political need for up-to-date, reliable, and resilient systems in the maritime domain. The topic of the proposed special track is a niche, but for which a research community already exists. We envision this to become one of the (few) internationally established venues for physical meetings and discussions between scientists, researchers, and practitioners that allow for the presentation of new findings, the exchange of experiences, and the exploration of potential collaborations.
The MarCaS special track at LCN will help bring together research groups working at the intersection of maritime applications, communications technologies, and protocols, as well as IT and network security to share and discuss ideas, novel solutions, challenges, and recent developments. The special track organizers solicit high quality and previously unpublished work in the maritime domain and the research field of the LCN to stimulate novel approaches for a safer and more resilient shipping.
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