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Student Poster Results 

The 2023 Maritime Risk Symposium, concluded last week, with experts from across the country and around the world providing their insights into the risks associated with offshore energy development, including permitting, construction, and operation of wind turbines, undersea power and telecommunication cables, finance, insurance, climate change, security, safety, cyber, and other risks. 


A highlight of the event was the annual Student Poster Contest.  This gives our emerging leaders a chance to educate the old hands on their perspectives on maritime risk.  Every year I’m impressed with the scholarship and creativity the students apply to their topics, and this year was no exception.


Comparisons across the students - from undergraduate to PhD are tough, but the judges' overall winner was our undergrad team of Katherine Kerchner and Rey Jacob from USMMA.  


Their poster "Floating Flower Beds as a Unique Solution to Environmental Concerns Posed by Offshore Wind Farms" proposed an innovative solution and they explained their proposal with professionalism and confidence, even under Jack McCready's tough questioning.  Well done!


Our graduate students, all from SUNY, all had a great deal to contribute:


Deven Noone's review of "The People Problem" was spot on target and reminds us that skilled mariners need to be at the heart of all the industry's challenges, no matter how technical.  Deven earned the highest individual judge's score.


James O'Connel's  look at risks to undersea infrastructure provided solid descriptions of both accidental and deliberate threats to this expanding world, and showed that we have a long way to go before we can say undersea cables and related systems are even monitored, much less protected.


Ari Cymrot, diagnosed cyber vulnerabilities for offshore wind platforms and identified both technical and policy solutions to address the risk, including the role of insurers.  This kind of holistic/360 approach to understanding and addressing risk is the right approach.  One of the judges wrote "superb and logical delivery, issues and recommendations well defined"


The PhD candidates, both from the University of Plymouth, are making substantial contributions to the field with their research, but of course we should expect nothing less from anyone working with Kevin Jones.  They presented virtually, and we all appreciated the impressive way they summarized what are obviously daunting and technically challenging research programs.


Yvonne Kam Hwei Syn’s poster “ Cyber Risks and Mitigation in Offshore Wind” broke down the major components of wind turbine from the Original Equipment Manufacturers to the PLCs, firewalls and SCADA components, to the grid operators and cloud service providers, examining the cyber risks at each stage from both the attacker’s and the turbine owner’s perspectives.  Her analysis and mitigation strategies are an important contribution to this topic, and turbine developers would be wise to use her research to inform their procedures. 


Joseph Ross’ research topic was “Towards a Digital Twin of a Complex Maritime Site”.  The University of Plymouth has excelled in the use of digital twins to address complex challenges.  In this case, the research focused on the practical challenge of providing secure 4G internet connections to visiting naval vessels at HMNB Devonport.  Creating a digital twin of the sites network with real world constraints on equipment locations, the author determined an optimal solution that minimizes cost, addresses security, and provides the needed connectivity. 

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