Seafarers enjoy Internet access, contrary to belief: owners' survey
THE International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) say that a new survey shows that Internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships was more widespread and available than previously thought
THE International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) say that a new survey shows that Internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships was more widespread and available than previously thought.
In addition, the study found that the positive benefits associated with internet access outweighed the perceived safety concerns around this technology, reports London's Tanker Operator.
The survey carried out with support from the Asian Shipowners' Association (ASA) showed that seafarer Internet provision for personal use may have improved their mental health and well-being, according to 60 per cent of respondents and the morale of seafarers in the company (69 per cent of respondents).
Some 82 per cent of the organisations who responded provided personal Internet access for seafarers. Despite industry concerns that internet access may negatively impact upon seafarers obtaining adequate rest and sleep during periods available for rest, 85 per cent of the companies reported that this was unaffected or improved.
Similarly, while there have also been concerns expressed as to whether access may negatively or positively impact upon their work, 96 per cent of companies reported that performance had not deteriorated.
Most companies reported that the number of times seafarers sought assistance, due to family or home-related anxieties, remained the same, despite speculation that increased family communications might generate more anxieties about problems ashore.
On another positive note, 93 per cent of the companies responded that the number of reported incidences of online bullying and harassment has not increased, despite speculation that greater internet access might expose seafarers.
Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, said: 'This survey provides a very optimistic picture not only of the positive impact of access to the internet for the seafarer, but also of the industry's readiness to embrace technology that will be commonplace in the future.
'However, it is quite surprising that nearly a quarter of companies indicated that they have not put any written policy in place, and as we move towards greater connectivity, this must be considered a matter of concern in relation to cyber security issues.'
Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General, added: 'Internet access on ships for seafarers' personal use is a key factor in efforts to improve the working conditions of seafarers and to attract future generations into the sector - people to whom a world without the web is entirely alien.'