June 29, 2017

Maersk, APM terminal systems hacked, operations grounded

By Godfrey Bivbere & Godwin Oritse, with additional agency report

Cargo clearing operations at the APM Terminals, Apapa, Lagos,  operators of the largest container terminal in the country, have been hacked by criminals forcing the management of the terminal to shut down the system.

Similarly, the IT system of shipping giant, A.P. Moller-Maersk, which handles one out of seven containers shipped globally, said a cyber attack had caused outages at its computer systems across the world on Tuesday.

The attack came as computer servers across Europe and in India were hit by a major ransomware attack.

“We can confirm that Maersk IT systems are down across multiple sites and business units due to a cyber attack,” Maersk said on Twitter.

The breakdown affected all business units at Maersk, including container shipping, port and tug boat operations, oil and gas production, drilling services, and oil tankers, the company said.

The IT breakdown could extend across the company’s global operations, a spokeswoman said, but could not say how Maersk’s operations were impacted.

Vanguard gathered that the hacking was done at the international level affecting not just their Nigerian operations but some aspect of the international business.

Several clearing agents who spoke to Vanguard confirmed that the terminal did not position any container yesterday  after the long holidays.

A source close to APM Terminals said that they have been working at rectifying the problem since the holiday hoping to resume full operations Wednesday being the first working day of the week.

Deputy National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Uchu Block, confirmed to Vanguard that there had been no positioning of containers for examination yesterday by the terminal.

Block said that a message was sent to customers by the management of APM Terminal informing them that they were embarking on system maintenance and therefore, cannot position any container until it is completed.

However, the source noted that if it were to be normal maintenance as claimed by the management, why was it not done and completed during the long holidays and why was it affecting some aspect of their international business?

Austin Fisher of APM Terminal confirmed the hack to Vanguard, noting that they had made a statement on it earlier in the day.