The Lloyd’s Register Foundation aims to use blockchain tech to improve safety on the high seas

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a British non-profit, has announced a new initiative that aims to use blockchain tech to improve safety on the high seas.

Dubbed Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL) and announced Thursday, the project is being founded in partnership with Denmark-based Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC). The labs will look at the use of engineered systems and blockchain-powered supply chains to address the safety and security of both critical infrastructure and people in the global maritime industry.

Deanna MacDonald, CEO of BLOC, said in a press release:

“Our objectives are twofold: to get real-world applications on the ground as soon as possible, and to share knowledge and methodologies among users. Blockchain is fundamentally a collaborative technology and will only truly transform the industry if we are all working from the same, or interlinked, systems, rather than competing.”

Since maritime safety is an international challenge, MBL aims to facilitate cooperation between diverse industry players, including competitors. Information sharing, the announcement says, could help boost returns in the sector, while at the same time reducing risks.

“By fostering a collaborative approach we can de-risk the space,” MacDonald said. “Demonstrate capacity and build the technical as well as educational foundations necessary for collectively developing and applying this emerging technology.”

Over the next 18 months, Maritime Blockchain Labs will work on developing three demo projects that will focus on aspects of risk and safety that can be addressed with distributed solutions, the release states.

“The three demonstrators will build, apply and model the use of distributed systems to create impacts that enhance safety of life and property at sea and serve as case examples to be shared with the community,” said MacDonald.

According to the Allianz Safety and Shipping Review 2017, the safety of vessels is critical to the global economy, with ships transporting around 90% of world trade.

The last year for which the full data is available, 2016, saw 2,611 reported shipping casualties, mostly caused by machinery and engine failure, while 85 ships were lost in the same year.