24 June 2017: Inmarsat is once again sponsoring Seafarers Awareness Week, which from tomorrow until 30 June will be highlighting the opportunities the maritime industry offers in the UK.
This year the focus is on maritime jobs both on shore and at sea and ‘Sea Ports for Prosperity’, encouraging port owners and operators to actively promote their £19 billion annual contribution to the economy of an island nation that receives over 90 per cent of its imports by ship.
Currently more than 100,000 UK nationals work at sea, on vessels ranging from workboats and superyachts to tankers and the Royal Navy Fleet.
Seafarers Awareness Week is co-ordinated by Seafarers UK and coincides with the International Maritime Organization’s Day of the Seafarer on 25 June, which has the theme ‘Seafarers Matter’.
Inmarsat’s support reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to crew welfare – through the provision of safety services and onboard communications, which, in an age when people expect to be able to access the internet anywhere, is increasingly seen as essential rather than a perk.
Yet a survey of nearly 2,000 seafarers and shipping industry leaders by the maritime professionals’ trade union Nautilus International reveals that fewer than one in ten (6%) crew members have sufficient internet connectivity for video calls, despite often being away from their families for months on end.
In addition, only 57% have personal email access and just one third (34%) can use social media, leaving the majority of seafarers isolated from friends and families. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) also suggested they would consider moving companies to get better quality internet.
Drew Brandy, Senior Vice President, Market Strategy for Inmarsat Maritime, said: “Connectivity is about more than just social media and web surfing, it has become integral to our existence – enabling people to manage their personal lives and stay connected in a way that ensures their emotional and physical well-being and that of those around them.
“There is a reluctance to provide connectivity to seafarers and the industry has not moved fast enough to address this issue. We have a collective responsibility to address this, to make right this situation from a technology, regulatory and policy perspective. And only when we come together as a maritime community will this truly change.”
Through its FleetBroadband and Fleet Xpress satellite networks, Inmarsat provides operational and crew connectivity services to vessels around the world. Solutions like Fleet Media, our innovative entertainment package, are specifically designed for seafarers to help combat isolation at sea.