Onboard Online: Improving Port Connectivity

With smartphones now seemingly everywhere and with super fast broad available at the flick of a switch, we have become accustomed to reliable internet connectivity. For many seafarers this is simply not the case given the lack of internet connection on board ships and in ports.  The lack of reliable internet provision can cause isolation whilst at sea, creating quite serious wellbeing issues for the seafarers concerned. This is the main reason that the Trust is now trying to improve seafarers’ connectivity through a pilot project aptly called, Onboard Online.

Through mobile netorks, mobile broadband enables people to send, receive and download information using the web in the same way as home broadband.  The huge advantage of using a mobile network for internet access is that the ITF Inspectors can take the device on board and leave it in the mess room for the seafarers to connect with whilst the inspection is going on.  The entire SHIP health material, the MLC and a number of other publications can be made available for download. Up to 10 devices (mobile phones, computers, tablets etc) can use the network at the same time.

As any ship visitor or ITF Inspector will tell you, Wi-Fi is was one of the most requested and appreciated services asked for on visits.

The Onboard Online pilot project aims to provide 8 to 10 ITF Inspectors with a mobile Hot-Spot to be taken on board vessels during inspections. We suggest leaving the Hot-Spot in the mess room, maybe asking the chief cook to be in charge of it. Once the inspection is over the dongle can be returned – some inspectors mights also leave it on board if they are scheduled to be back before the ship sails.

For more information please contact Luca Tommasi via email at luca@seafarers.org

News Update 2016- A seafarer was able to see his new-born child for the first time and many others enjoyed the possibility to get in touch with their families back home thanks to the WiFi provided by the Onboard Online project. So far, for the past six months, the project has provided 98 ships with an internet connection. Around 500 seafarers used it, and a total of 500 hours of internet has been provided on board vessels.Onboard Online News Update