Posted: 6th March 2020
Working on a ship for months on end can be challenging and highly demanding both physically and mentally. Tino Rizzo, director of Inspections, Repair and Maintenance at SeaTec, explains how giving crew the tools they need to keep in touch with loved ones back home can help ease the stress of seafarer life.
“Communication is paramount when we are talking about safety and safely managing a vessel.” says Tino, who among various services manages SeaTec’s Navigation & Communication team. “It is not only is important to the operational running of the vessel. 92% of seafarers rank the importance of internet connection on board above pay. On any vessel, being able to retain competent seafarers makes the vessel safer because you retain the wealth of operational experience. It makes the ship management position more solid when the vessel goes to market and tries to win new business.”
In addition to safety, on board connectivity has an important role to play in crew wellbeing. A recent study by Cardiff University, in conjunction with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) suggested that shipping companies should provide more amenities for seafarers. Specifically, the report stated that internet access was a major factor in seafarer happiness while at sea, and that provision of free internet access would make the most significant contribution to improving the mental health and well-being of those working onboard ships. “Through a smart phone,” says Tino, “connected to the vessel’s Wi-Fi, a crew member can access any app they wish, which is a major benefit of having a working connection on board.”
Internet access at sea is not without its downsides. Mike Bradshaw, Global Head of HSEQ at V.Ships, notes that being disconnected from life on shore can lead to an overreliance on connectivity, which in turns leads to increased isolation on board: “Seafarers have less time, less motivation to interact with each other, and find themselves spending more time alone. This can stop crew forming friendships, which often means that people don’t feel willing or able to share their worries or their news with each other.” And while access to social media can help seafarers stay in contact with loved ones back home, the value of face to face interaction should not be underestimated. “One of the key messages we give to crew is that you shouldn’t try to isolate yourself on board,” adds Mike. “We tell our seafarers: try to suggest and join in with social activities on your ship. Talk to your colleagues about goals you are setting yourself, get quality rest, choose healthy food options and try to exercise regularly. This will all help to build a solid foundation for wellbeing.”
SeaTec offers a range of connectivity packages which, in addition to securing enough data usage for vessel operations, also ensure that crew can access the internet. “Our services offer full connectivity whilst we also take on the logistics and project management required to make it happen,” says Tino. “This results in a fully connected vessel, and contributes towards an increase in crew satisfaction and seafarer retention rates.”
To find out more about the navigation and communication services that SeaTec provides, contact Tino Rizzo at email@example.com.