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More must be done to provide connectivity for our Seafarers

More must be done to provide connectivity for our Seafarers
14/07/2017

Seafarers can be on vessels for months at a time, while at home the world keeps turning without them. It is not unusual for the men and women manning the global fleet to miss Christmases and birthdays, family milestones such as first steps, weddings and graduations. Even for those without children, spending such long periods away from friends and loved ones can lead to isolation, loneliness and depression.

For many working under these conditions, internet access provides a vital link to their families, allowing them to access emails, make calls and even watch videos snapped for them by their loved ones. Although internet provision for seafarers has grown considerably over the last decade, a recent survey by the seafarers’ union Nautilus found that only just over half (57 per cent) of seafarers can access their personal emails while on board. Only a third (36 per cent) can use social media, and a tiny fraction (4 per cent) have access to video calling. Bandwidth at sea is often narrow, expensive and unreliable, making it difficult for crews to maintain contact with their families unless they are in port.

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