Why is GDPR particularly relevant to shipping?
Although GDPR will probably affect every organisation that
processes personal data, the shipping industry will be particularly
affected due to the following reasons:
• Even small shipping companies process personal data of their
crew on a daily basis. Most shipping companies keep records of
their crew members between embarkations and for some time
after the last debarkation.
• Personal data processed by shipping companies includes
personal identification documents, bank details, travel
documents, training records but also data considered to be
‘sensitive’ such as medical records.
• Shipping companies receive personal data from many sources such
as the individuals themselves, manning agents, port agents and
other third parties, in the normal course of business.
• They send personal data to many recipients such as port agents,
travel agents and P&I clubs.
• They regularly make data transfers to a large number of
jurisdictions, with particular interest in those made to countries
outside the EU, and in specific, those where certain conditions
must be met in order for the transfer to be allowable.
What should shipping companies do?
It is crucial that shipping companies kick-start their GDPR project
with raising awareness among top management on what GDPR
requires and what the key risks for their particular organisation
are. Engaging the right people at top management level is
necessary to ensure that the organisation commits the necessary
time and resources and develops a culture that respects privacy.
With the full support of management, organisations need to
assemble a multi-discipline team to run the project ensuring
risk, legal and IT are included. The appointment of a Data
Protection Officer may be required, under certain
circumstances, in which case the organisations need to
consider who that person might be. Trusted external advisors
can bring technical expertise, perspective and help save time.
3. IDENTIFICATION OF DATA PROCESSING ACTIVITIES
It is then time to identify and record the data processing activities,
ensuring that for each activity, the entire data lifecycle is captured
(from collection all the way to destruction). Data processors and
joint-controllers should also be identified at this stage.
4. GAP ANALYSIS AND COMPLIANCE PLAN
Whilst capturing the flows, organisations should look for the
weaknesses in the data flows, evaluate the resulting risk and
respond to that risk with a specific practical plan of action, so that
the risk can be mitigated to an acceptable low level. To identify
weaknesses they will also need to consider their policies and
procedures, their current compliance framework (for example ISM,
MLC etc) as well as tools and enablers, including legal documents
(forms, terms and conditions, etc) and of course the IT environment.
5. IMPLEMENTATION OF CHANGES IN POLICIES,
PROCEDURES, NOTICES, LEGAL, IT
Once the specific action plan is complete, organisations can then
proceed to the implementation phase. This would normally include
making changes in privacy policies, contracts with manning agents,
P&I clubs, information notices to port agents, staff and crew as
well as drafting appropriate consent forms. Implementation could
also include changes in manual procedures, IT security (firewalls,
encryption etc) and business continuity & disaster recovery plan.
External advisors can again help carry out various aspects of the
implementation but also assist in managing the effort.